THE Warriors hit new lows on Sunday when they were knocked out by Tanzania in the Orange 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) football qualifiers at the National Sports Stadium.
Shrill calls for the team to be disbanded and for the Cuthbert Dube-led Zifa board to quit are everywhere.
The Warriors had lost the first leg 1-0 a fortnight ago, and on Sunday drew 2-2 before a packed and shocked 50 000-strong crowd to bow out of Africa’s biggest competition at the first hurdle.
Now, this basically means, for the 2017 finals, we are at the same level as South Sudan, Madagascar, Swaziland, Namibia, Burundi, Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe and Mauritania who were also knocked out in the first round.
Between now and the end of 2015, there will be no continental football for Zimbabwe and we will only be back in action in 2016 and we will be content with watching other teams play in Morocco next year.
In 34 years, Zimbabwe have managed to qualify for the have finals just twice in 2004 [Zifa acting president was Vincent Pamire] and 2006 [Zifa president was Rafik Khan].
First, it was Sunday Chidzambwa and his assistant Rahman Gumbo who ensured the Warriors finally broke the duck before the most successful coach in the land quit.
Gumbo took over for the next campaign, but that was finished off by Charles Mhlauri after he [Gumbo] was fired after the home mauling by Nigeria.
Since then, we have come close twice, falling at the last hurdle against the Cape Verde Islands in a suspicious 2-1 loss and then 2-0 to Angola on the road to South Africa.
When the draw for the 2017 finals was made, we all thought this was the best chance for the Warriors to make a third appearance. But, alas, we have just been bombed out.
The Ministry of Sports played its part at the African Nations Championships (Chan) and that’s where the story ended. Andrew Langa does not have to bother Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa for funding anymore.
Chinamasa does not know when he is going to pay the civil servants and the pensioners, so this bunch of shameless losers is certainly not a priority for him. In fact, he might ask if the Warriors are part of ZimAsset, whatever animal that is!
To say Zifa is broke is an understatement – they are broken.
There is no sign that they will get any funding from anyone anytime soon. The only money they will receive this year is $750 000 from Fifa: $250 000 as Financial Assistance Funds (FAP) and $500 000 for the construction of their new headquarters.
Zifa president Cuthbert Dube has stated he cannot continue funding the national team. And this weekend, he bonded his house to pay for the Tanzania costs. He has to pay the lodge within 30 days or else . . .
The general demise of the Warriors is just a sign that things, on the whole, are not well.
Former Warriors coach and Zifa technical director Gibson Homela believes the national team must be disbanded forthwith and more resources directed towards the Under 17 and 20 sides.
“We must forget about Warriors and start development structures.
Zifa must make sure there is quality, organised football in schools, where coaches are qualified personnel. These developmental structures must start from zonal, district, provincial to national level.
“I don’t think the Warriors problem is a coaches’ problem. The fabric is not there in the juniors. Players that are being selected are average and the task ahead is very difficult. The quality of players from the Premier Soccer League is affecting our football. As a country, we are not prepared to compete at this high level. We are just short-circuiting things. Now that we are out for a very long time, it’s our chance to put our acts together,” Homela said.
Zifa has apologised for this mess, but that has not stopped calls for the board to resign. Resignation means we cannot be banned by Fifa.
Government intervention, as some are saying, will get us banned and we might just have to do with Karikoga Kaseke’s samba queens and a half-naked Bev for the next two years!
Do our players deserve to be called Warriors?
He is not the best goalkeeper in the land and despite Eric Chipeta’s horrible mistake, he should not have conceded that second goal. How does an experienced goalkeeper like Washington Arubi stay on the bench for two crucial games? What has Chigova done to displace Arubi? Arubi was deputy to Tapuwa Kapini and he is now deputy to Chigova. No, something is definitely wrong.
How do you run and leave the ball behind you? Alertness and more alertness is what is needed. We need another right wing-back.
He is an attacking midfielder at Highlanders and was exposed on Sunday. Bruce Kangwa, without doubt, is the best natural left wing-back in the country at the moment and he needs to be in that team.
First, does he deserve to be the captain? Can he command a team? Does he have the leadership qualities for the senior national team? Unanswered questions. A captain should be felt, he should have the presence, the charisma, the John Terry, the Steven Gerrard, the Patrick Vieira, the Vincent Kompany, or closer, the Peter Ndlovu or Norman Mapeza.
Ball of nerves throughout the match. Has he already reached his peak? He has not been making such mistakes in the past, but his performance against Tanzania was shocking.
Marvellous to watch. Silent workhorse in midfield and needs to be nurtured.
Gritty and going forward very well. The same attitude that he has at Kaizer Chiefs must be seen at the Warriors, barring any stomach bugs.
Rusty, injuries and the bench and Bidvest Wits have affected his play. He simply did nothing on Sunday.
Still has some good touches, we need him going forward. He has formed a good combination with Rodwell Chinyengetere and Khama Billiat in the past. We need this trinity with Knowledge Musona upfront.
Good Caf Champions League record with five goals so far, but his club form has never translated to national form. If statistics and experience were used to get him into the starting eleven, then he should have partnered Kuda Musharu upfront.
Last goal in 2009. Sorry, he was supposed to be nowhere near this Warriors team, not at all.
Misplaced passes, lack of accuracy, ambition high, but trying too hard to salvage the situation.
Had the pace and hunger for goal. He scored six times for How Mine in the Caf Confederation Cup and has scored eight goals in eight matches in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League. How he came to be on the bench is anybody’s guess.
It was just a bad decision to leave him on the bench. Worse, some did not even want him in the final 18 yet, clearly, he is the best target man right now.
Pascal Manhanga – Played only eight minutes and had one shot at goal.
Ian Gorowa should stay as coach, but he should change the composition of his technical department.
Zifa board: Resign
The ideal Warriors X1
Afcon: Washington Arubi, Eric Chipeta, Bruce Kangwa, Costa Nhamoinesu, Carlington Nyadombo, Danny Phiri, Willard Katsande, Kuda Mahachi, Ovidy Karuru, Khama Billiat, Knowledge Musona.
Subs (from): Rodwell Chinyengetere, Peter Moyo, Tendai Ndoro, Kuda Musharu, Qadr Amini, Simba Sithole, (Ajax Cape Town), Walter Musona, Tendayi Darikwa, Silas Songani, Patson Jaure.
Cosafa/Chan teams (from): Munyaradzi Diya, Kuda Musharu, Qadr Amini, Rodwell Chinyengetere, Talent Chawapihwa, Pascal Manhanga, Danny Phiri, Charles Sibanda, Masimba Mambare, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Dominic Chungwa, Ronald Chitiyo, Tapiwa Dephistara, Walter Musona, Livingstone Gent, Aleck Marime, Ozias Zibande, Stephen Alimenda.