Zifa must seize this chance

THE Warriors have been invited for an international friendly soccer match in Morocco in November — their first match since the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualification disaster in June.

NewsDay Editorial

The fall from the Afcon finals at the hands of Tanzania, at home for that matter, makes the Warriors an unattractive choice for most African teams eager to prepare for the last rounds of next year’s qualifiers.

So this invite comes as a blessing for Zifa to put their house in order and start preparations for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games qualifiers.

The trip to Rio will not be easy because of the criteria that will be used by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to select the teams that will represent the continent.

Teams have to go through qualifiers for the Caf Under-23 Championships that will take place in the Democratic Republic of Congo in December 2015 involving eight teams that would have sailed through from the first round.

The two teams that will reach the final will automatically qualify for the Rio Games. This is no easy task and Zifa must know that preparations have to start in Morocco.

Inactivity is an enemy to football and a nation must thrive to play continuously whenever opportunities arise. After Morocco, other teams could be interested in playing Zimbabwe to prepare for the 2015 Afcon finals.

Transport and accommodation will likely be provided by the Moroccan football federation, leaving Zifa with no excuse for failing to raise an Under-23 team, with a couple of experienced players.

Zimbabwe must field the best possible team with at least six Under-20 players, who will be eligible for full caps in 2016.

That Kalisto Pasuwa says he has not been formally appointed the coach of the Young Warriors is neither here nor there — a team must travel to Morocco with or without him.

One really wonders what is taking so long in confirming Pasuwa as the head coach to take over from Peter Ndlovu, who is now the team manager at Mamelodi Sundowns. Or, maybe somebody is sleeping on duty at the secretariat at 53 Livingstone Avenue.

This is unacceptable behaviour because it means without that official confirmation, Pasuwa will not even be able to attend the 2014 World Cup review in Cairo, Egypt, next month which is beneficial, technically, to any coach.

Zimbabwe has dreams to host the 2017 Afcon finals and cannot be seen to be saying so on paper alone when it doesn’t have a team to represent it. The foundation must be laid now by making sure the team gets as many friendly matches as possible going forward.

Zifa has been to Parliament where they laid bare the challenges facing the game in the country and this is the time for one or two corporate sponsors to assist the Warriors in this trip. If government has resources to chip in, let it do so as well.

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