Comment: We reap what we sow

So Zimbabwe will not have anything to do with the 2012 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations after we lost in Cape Verde on Saturday.

The Warriors needed nothing short of a victory in the Atlantic Ocean island to qualify for the continental football bonanza to be co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, but they disappointingly lost 1 -2.

As the sad reality dawns on us that we failed to make the grade for Afcon 2012, our football administrators must go back to the drawing board (they should be seriously worn out by now as every failure refers back to them) and reflect on what went wrong in a campaign that was seemingly full of promise especially after the Warriors trounced Liberia 3–0 at the National Sports Stadium.

The failure to qualify for Afcon 2012 is particularly painful because the Warriors were absent at the last continental showcase in Angola and also missed out on the 2008 edition. In fact, Zimbabwe have been in the Afcon finals just twice.

Overwhelmed by the fury of failure Zimbabweans will naturally call for the head of coach Norman Mapeza and football administrators whose bungling after the first match of the campaign could be the real reason behind our crashing out.

Instead of finger-pointing and the usual blame game, we should now put things right from the outset. We should now put the horse before the cart and focus on what needs to be done for the 2013 Afcon and 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

Mapeza had all the talent at his disposal, but from our observations lacked the necessary technical advice that he could easily have received from German technical adviser Klaus Dieter Pagels.

His technical team was thin, to say the least. He only had Joey Antipas to turn to, basically meaning fresh ideas were rare.

What we also need is a sound junior development policy where our footballers are nurtured from a tender age and allowed to gel into a cohesive team all the way from Under 14 up to the senior national team level.

If we do not have a solid junior development policy there is no way we can build a solid senior national that can stand up to the best on the content.

We have in the past witnessed some of the best players to grace our stadia emerging from initiatives by individuals with the sport at heart.

Players that come to mind are Alois Bunjira, Stewart Murisa, Gift Muzadzi and Dumisani Mpofu, just to mention but four.

These were products of a junior development policy initiated by Polish mentor Wieslaw Grabowski in the 1990s.

Peter Ndlovu, one of the most successful footballers to emerge from Zimbabwe, was a product of the Highlanders juniors as was his elder brother Adam and Benjamin Nkonjera.

Knowledge Musona, another revelation, now plying his trade at 1899 Hoffenheim in the German Bundesliga, is a product of an initiative by Aces Youth Soccer Academy in Harare.

Such initiatives, if they were well coordinated and funded, could be the ideal nursery for our future Warriors.

Zifa should do more and invest in junior football if we are to avoid more heartbreaks like the one we had on Saturday night.
We reap what we sow.

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