THE African Nations Championships (Chan) finals are around the corner and for the third time in a row, Zimbabwe will make an appearance.
In the last two editions, the Warriors bowed out in the group stages, but this time around, despite being in the same group with Morocco, Uganda and Burkina Faso, there is genuine belief that they can reach the quarterfinal stage.
But they need all the resources that are available for them to reach that goal.
And this is where the government and the real friends of Zifa and the Warriors should come into play. A budget has been presented — about $10 million to the Ministry of Sport Arts and Culture — and they need just $354 000 to cover their training, allowances, appearance fees and winning bonuses until the end of the tournament.
It should be noted that this is a national project and has nothing to do with Zifa. We are pleased that the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Andrew Langa, has already stated his desire to ensure that these funds are availed so that the Warriors do not become an embarrassment.
We know Morocco, Uganda and Burkina Faso are bankrolled by their respective governments and there is nothing that should stop the Zimbabwe government from doing the same.
It will be a shame when, come January 6, the Warriors are not able to take the 90-minute flight to Johannesburg enroute to their base in Cape Town. If anyone thinks it is Zifa who will be embarrassed, then they are wrong, it’s the entire nation of Zimbabwe that will be left with egg on its face.
Zifa and coach Ian Gorowa have done their part and secured Umbro as a technical sponsor for the tournament and this deal can even be extended beyond Chan should there be willingness from the government to do so.
We need a motivated team to fly the Zimbabwean flag high and it is our hope that the corporate sector will come on board. Already coach Gorowa has secured a vehicle for use and a financial institution is ready to fund his salary as long as a long term deal is in place.
This is the spirit we need going forward.
We know of an animal called the liquidity crunch – it’s affecting all and sundry — but when it comes to a national cause, somebody has to do something.
And right now that something has to be done by Langa. He came into office when the Warriors were on the road to the finals and he knows his performance as minister for the next five years, will be judged by how Zimbabwe performs on the international football scene.
All weather football friends like Mbada Diamonds will be involved with meeting their obligations for How Mine’s participation in the Caf Confederations Cup, but this is one organisation that has lived up to its mantra — harnessing diamonds for the people’.
The Mbada Diamonds team of Robert Mhlanga, Patience Khumalo, Major Mahlangu and George Manyaya know they can always put a smile of the face of Zimbabwean football lovers and am sure they might do something for the Warriors.