WARRIORS’ assistant coach Peter Ndlovu has apologised to the nation for the team’s failure to qualify for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations football finals in South Africa and has pleaded for more time to rebuild the team.
Report by Tawanda Tafirenyika
Head coach Rahman Gumbo was supposed to face the media yesterday to answer questions on the Angola debacle, but could not make it with Ndlovu representing him.
The former Coventry City striker, the first Warriors captain to lead Zimbabwe to the Nations Cup finals in Tunisia in 2004, took the opportunity to apologise for the poor show by the national team, which saw them falling 2-0 to Angola and crash out of the continental soccer extravaganza having gone into the match with a healthy 3-1 lead.
Ndlovu said as the technical team, they accepted full responsibility for the team’s failure.
“We are sorry to the public. We picked the team which I believe was the most experienced. Our game plan was to go and attack them. We didn’t want to invite trouble by sitting back, that is why we played attack-minded players. It’s just that we lost concentration on the field and conceded those two goals. They were more hungry than us and they should be credited for that.”
Asked whether the technical team would continue to lead the team after the failure, Ndlovu, who is also the Under-23 coach, said: “I have a job to do and would want to continue until replaced. We still have to fulfil upcoming fixtures. I think we should be given more time to rebuild the team.
“We have time to rebuild. We need at least a year and we should be able to pick ourselves up.”
However, Zifa president Cuthbert Dube has warned that they would make bold decisions on the technical team set-up and that they could also disband the whole team and build from scratch.
The Zifa board, which met on Tuesday, is still to announce their decision on the team’s failure.
Zimbabwe still have upcoming 2014 World Cup qualifiers in which they are in the same group with Egypt, Guinea and Mozambique.
They have picked just one point from their last two matches against Mozambique and Guinea and now have a slim chance of making it to Brazil in two years’ time.
Realistically, they should now shift focus to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations finals to be staged by Libya.
The Warriors, who are regarded as the “nearly men” of African football, qualified for their first ever Africa Cup in 2004 in Tunisia under the guidance of Sunday Chidzambwa before Charles Mhlauri took them to Egypt two years later in a campaign started by Gumbo.
Since then, they have failed to secure qualification for the biennial soccer showcase.