HomeSportOther SportAnother year of agony for Zim sports

Another year of agony for Zim sports

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THIS year could rank as the worst in the history of the Warriors following a humiliating 2014 World Cup qualification campaign.

BY MICHAEL MADYIRA – The Standard

The Warriors anchored Group G without a win but with just two points scrapped from Mozambique home and away in a group topped by Egypt.

It was a doomed campaign overseen by two coaches, Rahman Gumbo and German-born Klaus Dieter Pagels who took turns to plunge the Warriors into abyss as the national team strutted towards being an unknown entity in African football.

Pagels could not also lead the home-based Warriors to the Cosafa Castle Cup title defence. But in came Ian Gorowa at the end of July.
Gorowa brought a refreshing air of hope as he is unbeaten in eight games, four of which helped the Warriors qualify for next month’s less glamorous African Nations Championships (Chan).

He has so far passed two major tests.

The first one was breaking Zambia’s unbeaten record at their new Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in the Chan qualifier decider, as well as an away victory over South Africa in an international friendly match in September.

But fans might reckon that the real test is coming at the Chan tournament where Zimbabwe is seeking to get past the group stages for the first time, unlike in the past two editions.

But the crucial of all tests next year is bidding for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

In domestic football Dynamos won a third successive league title with coach Kalisto Pasuwa entering the history books as the first local coach to lead a club to three league titles on the bounce.
It was a closely-contested race in which Dynamos won on the last day of the competition as old rivals Highlanders finished as runners-up for the second season running.

This was after failing to qualify for the CAF Champions League mini-league phase for a third season in a row.

Again for a third straight term, Dynamos provided the Soccer Star of the Year when Tawanda Muparati succeeded Denver Mukamba who had also assumed the crown from goalkeeper Washington Arubi.

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) is currently a house on fire following player strikes that disrupted the domestic league that had already been weighed down by late take off.

Last week players, both on national and domestic contracts, refused to play Pro50 and Logan Cup matches demanding salaries owed to them by ZC.

The coaches have also vowed to join the players if the situation persists in January.

The year started with a woeful tour of the West Indies where Zimbabwe failed to win any match in all versions of the games.
This was followed by Bangladesh’s tour of Zimbabwe where the hosts only managed to edge the tourists 3-2 in the one day international (ODI) series while they drew the Test and T20 series.

In August, India completed an ODI whitewash in a five-match series in Harare and Bulawayo in another gloomy show by Zimbabwe.

The major positive highlight by Zimbabwe was however a 24-run win over Pakistan in September to draw the Test series at Harare Sports Club in what was their first major Test victory since beating India in 2001.

It was their 11th Test success since they were accorded Test status in 1992. Pakistan, however dominated the tour.

The Under-19 lost all their games at the quadrangular series in India in September to raise concern over the future of the game in the country. The series also had South Africa and Australia.

But the teenagers could turn that catastrophic outing into a learning curve that can help them conquer at next February’s World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

In rugby, the 15s side, the Sables kept their 1025 World Cup qualification hopes alive by maintaining their stay in Group 1A from which they are seeking top spot for automatic qualification.

Despite losing almost 10 senior players following a player revolt, Zimbabwe held their nerves and resume their qualification bid mid-next year in Madagascar where they will face the hosts, Kenya and Namibia who were at the last edition.

Zimbabwe are bidding for a first appearance at the World Cup since 1991 and inspiring is the interest shown by players who had previously turned their backs on the Sables but have been enticed by World Cup appearance prospects.

The Cheetahs’ major highlight of the year was participation at the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow but could not progress past the group stages.

Earlier on in May, the Cheetahs failed to attain core status in London, England having also failed the previous year by narrowly losing to Portugal.

They have another chance in May next year to bid for core membership qualification in Hong Kong from which, if they win, they will return to London for the final qualification round.

The Under-19s were a disappointment after failing to make it for next year’s Junior World Rugby Trophy which they last participated in 2011.

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