ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube remains defiant insisting he will not resign despite the failure by the Warriors to qualify for the 2013 African Cup of Nations finals to be hosted by South Africa in January next year.
REPORT BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
The Warriors, carrying a 3-1 lead from the first leg in Harare, cracked at the last hurdle at the 11 Novembro Stadium in Angola on Sunday to crash out of the continental soccer showcase after they were defeated 2-0 by the hosts.
The failure by the national team to qualify for the biennial soccer extravaganza after having taken what appeared a good lead has been met with a chorus of disapproval from angry fans and football stakeholders who have called for the resignation of the Zifa leadership.
The Zifa leadership is being held responsible for the failure by the national team by some critics who believe the investigations into Asiagate, which they instituted also contributed in a way to the failure by the team.
But Dube waved a defiant fist yesterday maintaining he would not resign until he finished wiping out corruption in football.
He said he had no intention of leading Zifa, but came into office after he was persuaded. The Zifa boss also said he was not benefiting anything from Zifa and that it was instead football in general which was benefiting from him.
“We will not surrender because of the Angola debacle. We will not resign until we clear all the mess in our football. We cannot have a national team of mercenaries. We are meeting as the Zifa board to review the team’s performance and will make bold decisions on the technical team set-up and the team.
“The Zambia national football team was wiped out in an air crash, but they rebuilt their team and today they are the powerhouse of African football. It won’t be a surprise if they win the Nations Cup again this time,” said Dube.
Warriors coach Rahman Gumbo is set to face the media today to answer questions on the Warriors’ failure to qualify for South Africa.
Zimbabwe made its maiden appearance at the Nations Cup finals in Tunisia in 2004 under Sunday Chidzambwa, before Charles Mhlauri took them to Egypt two years later in a campaign started by Gumbo.
Chances to qualify at the last four editions of the tournament have remained stubbornly elusive, with Zimbabwe again losing 2-1 to Cape Verde Islands in the penultimate qualifier for last year’s edition.