New Warriors interim coach Rahman Gumbo starts his job at the end of this month with a tough away encounter against Burundi in the first leg of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier.
He returns to a national association that is broke and has been largely dependent on the deep pockets of its president Cuthbert Dube.
He financed the failed 2012 Afcon campaign and salaries of the entire technical team. Dube rose to power in 2010 – three months before this paper was born. In fact, the first edition of NewsDay was published on June 7 2010, the day after Zimbabwe had thumped Seychelles 3-0 to qualify for the African Nations Championships.
That gave Dube his first major continental foray when the finals took place in Sudan last January and February
What we saw was total maladministration, as Zifa failed to give then coach Madinda Ndlovu financial support as he prepared for the finals. Camping was disorganised – players were staying in a dingy hotel and there were no allowances.
They were not even sure when they would travel to Sudan and when they eventually did, there were no adequate allowances for players and the technical staff. A mini-strike took place during the finals.
But when Norman Mapeza assumed the reins, Dube did not hesitate to have his Buymore Investments make money available for all commitments and various sponsors came into the game to support the campaign.
Now that Mapeza — a victim of Asiagate — is out of the picture, are we going to see the same support? Is Zimbabwe going to wake up from the deep slumber and notice sponsorship cannot be tied to an individual, but to a national responsibility?
We had companies like Mbada Diamonds Holdings, Toyota Zimbabwe, Chemayde and other silent partners like FC Platinum, coming to sponsor various trips the Warriors undertook last year.
We need to see the same support without discrimination. Gumbo will work with former Dynamos head coach David Mandigora and goalkeepers’ coach Richard Tswatswa to come up with a team that can set the stage for Zimbabwe’s only third appearance in the continental games after previous “visits” in 2004 and 2006.
Interestingly, in the appointments of coaches, including for the Under-23s and Under- 20s, Zifa sought to play politics in football — some kind of regional balancing act by looking mainly at Dynamos, Caps United, Highlanders and FC Platinum.
Gumbo has two Dynamos men in his team in Mandigora and Nyika Chifamba (team manager). Peter Ndlovu, the new Under-23 boss, has Calisto Pasuwa as his number two and Peter Nkomo, formerly of Highlanders and now at Platinum as goalkeepers’ coach.
Jairos Tapera of Platinum leads the Under- 20 set-up with Laban Kandi as the goalkeepers’ coach. With this set up, some critics who were silent during the Mapeza era about the composition of his technical team, have now started spreading hate language saying the new appointments have a Southern Region bias.
While Mapeza had a back-up team from Harare only, they chose to remain silent. After all, Gumbo’s appointment could just be until the end of March when Mapeza is cleared or otherwise by the Ethics Committee. This is football!