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Do we have World Cup material?

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All the hue and cry about the Warriors’ performance in the last two World Cup qualifiers has been about the technical department; in particular it has been about Rahman Gumbo.

It has also been about the return of suspended Norman Mapeza and the need to move home matches back to the ceremonial home of local football, Rufaro Stadium.

What seems to be more realistic now is the return of the national team to Rufaro for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations second leg tie against Burundi this coming Sunday.

What has been ignored is the talent, or lack of it, that we have in the national team and whether we have the right material for the intended goals that Zifa has reset after missing out on the 2012 Afcon finals.

The last two games — 1-0 loss to Guinea at home and 0-0 draw away to Mozambique — has seen three players come to the fore: Knowledge Musona, Takesure Chinyama and Ovidy Karuru for missing clear chances that would have seen Zimbabwe win.

Musona scored in five of the six matches in the 2012 Afcon campaign and was on target in the February 29 2-1 loss to Burundi and was expected to continue his scoring form for the Warriors.

But sadly it has not been the case for the Warriors and most probably because he did not get enough game time at Hoffeinheim to keep his wheels oiled and eventually he had to be loaned out to Augsburg.

Karuru faced relegation from the start of the season at US Boulogne and eventually everything that started wrong eventually went awry as his team went down to the French National Division – two rungs below Ligue One. For Chinyama, he came in at Dynamos with a bang and has since fizzled out and his inclusion in the national team ahead of leading scorer Nelson Mazivisa, who has nine goals in 10 matches, has to be questioned.

His commitment to the national team has to be questioned after he was dropped by then coach Valinhos in the ill-fated 2010 World Cup/Afcon joint qualifiers after only two matches. He is not the same player who mesmerised defenders at Hwange and Monomotapa before his flight to the Polish league where he did even more damage.

But going into camp for the three games, he was caught in a web where one greedy and unpatriotic player agent tried to smuggle him to South Africa for trials and supposedly medicals at Orlando Pirates.

Was it really an issue of medicals, we wonder, or was it the underground plots that Gumbo and Zifa have been alleging?

Overall, do we have the right material for the World Cup? Are our players up to scratch even for the Afcon? Or do we just need to restart and rebuild from invitational tournaments like Cosafa and Cecafa? Or is it politics that has poisoned the game like Gumbo stated in the Independent newspaper last week?

He said: “I have to be frank; there is just too much politics within Zimbabwean football which poisons everything. There is too much backstabbing and there are always manoeuvres to bring down whoever is at the helm of the Warriors.

“I am here on temporary basis, but I know there are efforts to bring me down, but what we need as Zimbabweans is to unite and support whoever is in charge. We have the talent and good players, but as long as we pull in different directions we will not succeed.”

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