JOHANNESBURG — Kaizer Chiefs midfield football pivot Willard Katsande is frustrated at the inactivity of Zimbabwe during a week in which other national sides have been involved in the 2015 Afcon qualifiers and international friendlies alike.
Perennial underachievers, Zimbabwe were booted out of the 2015 Afcon qualification preliminary stages by lowly Tanzania, and their next competitive matches could come towards the end of next year.
And Katsande fears that a prolonged spell of inactivity for the Warriors, who are effectively a side in transition, could further dampen their chances of future success.
“It is important to start preparing for the next tournament now by way of friendly matches so that we can have a core group of players who understand each other. When the next qualifiers begin, we should not be experimenting, we should not be chopping and changing the team,” he said.
Katsande’s wishes, however, come against the backdrop of utter chaos at the administration level of the national game in Zimbabwe, with Zifa struggling for a coherent plan of action in the aftermath of the Tanzania disaster.
At the core of the country’s predicament is a paralysing financial crisis that has left Zifa unable to appoint a new national team coach, much less fund the Warriors participation in international friendly matches.
Unpopular Zifa boss Cuthbert Dube, who swept into office in 2010 on the back of promises to airbrush the association’s battered image and attract sponsorship for the national team, has failed on both fronts.
He has often resorted to funding the Warriors from his own personal savings, a practise that is not sustainable although it has endeared him to the Zifa Council, which re-elected him for another four-year term early this year.
Dube recently told Parliament that he had dissolved the Warriors and would be focusing instead on developing the next crop of Under-23 players into full-fledged national team stars.
Katsande feels that Zimbabwe can learn from the experience of his club Chiefs, who are reaping the benefits of continuity after a storming start to the 2014/15 campaign.
“We have been together for the last three years and we now understand each other better, we know the coach’s tactics and what he expects from us. It is easy to play as a team when you have been together for such a long time,” he said.
The 27-year-old former Ajax Cape Town player remains optimistic that the emerging generation will ultimately come good despite the vitriol they have endured at the hands of administrators, fans and the media alike in the aftermath of the meek capitulation to Tanzania.
The likes of Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiat and Kuda Mahachi have become household names in the region and beyond, while youngsters such as
Netherlands-based Marvellous Nakamba and Leeds United starlet Munya Mbanje could join in at some stage in the future. From the local Premiership, names like Marshal Mudehwe, Ronald Chitiyo, Nqobizitha Masuku and Ronald Pfumbidzai among others, have also impressed with their quality and consistency.
Furthermore, there is still time for the Castle Lager Premiership’s 2012 player of the season Denver Mukamba, to rediscover his old form.
“We have the potential to become the best side in Southern Africa that is what I believe. We only need to be focussed and organised, and we will be successful,” Katsande said. — Goal.com