Millions of soccer-loving Zimbabweans watched in shock as the senior national football team became cannon fodder in Rwanda during its two embarrassing matches against Zambia and Mali at the ongoing African Championship (CHAN) tournament.
Jacob Mafume,PDP National Spokesperson
Zimbabwe went on to lose by identical 1-0 scorelines in the two matches and are now just waiting for a dead rubber match against Uganda before packing bags and returning home today crestfallen after disappointing millions of football lovers with their sub-standard football.
The sad story in Zimbabwean football was the election of Philip Chiyangwa as the new Zifa president, to replace an equally incompetent and clueless Cuthbert Dube. The very election of Chiyangwa last December, whose track record in football administration is shadowy and untraceable, was the final nail in the coffin of football in Zimbabwe.
Chiyangwa is no football administrator and has no capacity to run soccer. After all, he allegedly owes various financial institutions large sums of money and has many pending court cases over attachment of property for failure to service his debts.
Match-fixing has become a thriving criminal enterprise globally with billions exchanging hands each year and it will not be shocking if evidence is unearthed that Zimbabwe actually fixed matches at the CHAN tournament.
When Chiyangwa entered office, he was quick to close the Asiagate saga and allowed all those involved to walk scot-free, perhaps as an indicator of what is to come in the near future. Instead, Chiyangwa is investing his energy hounding competent football administrators such as Caps United vice-president Twine Phiri out of the Premier Soccer League and Zifa board.
In his two months in office, Chiyangwa has shown that he is a popcorn administrator.
The team that went to Rwanda was demotivated and unprepared for the tournament as it never had even a single friendly before the tournament. Football the world over requires sponsors and it is sad in Zimbabwe that such sponsors have long abandoned not just football, but all other sports because of poor administration, corruption and outright incompetence.
The real blame for our sporting woes falls squarely on the failure of the Zanu PF government. As noted above, sports development requires serious investment from private corporate sponsors and given the general industrial collapse in Zimbabwe which Zanu PF has presided over, such sponsors are nowhere to be found.
Companies that used to sponsor various sporting disciplines have either downsized operations or have completely shut down, hence there is no sufficient support for sporting activities in the country. Indeed, we cannot expect to perform well in sport as a country when our economy is virtually dead.
Sport requires resources and these are products of a functional economy and, sadly, Zanu PF lacks the competence to build such an economy. The sad reality is that our sporting teams will continue to be a huge disappointment in the short to medium term because Zanu PF has no interest in turning around the economy, whose positive performance is a key driver of successful sporting performances.