BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA IN CAIRO, EGYPT
ZIFA president Felton Kamambo has blamed the players and technical team for the Warriors’ embarrassing exit from the 2019 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament and it is highly-likely that Sunday Chidzambga and his lieutenants will lose their jobs.
The technical staff had been set a target of reaching at least the quarter-finals of the tournament, but they crushed out at the initial stages leaving Egypt having scored a solitary goal over three matches and a single point.
“I take the blame and I think in the near future we need to approach the games differently,” Chidzambga said addressing the media following the DRC defeat.
The 4-0 capitulation – – when a win would have all but guaranteed passage to the next round – – at the hands of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has drawn fire from the public.
The Zifa boss was also not amused.
Kamambo feels the team’s poor performance at the tournament in Egypt was a consequence of a collective loss of focus by the whole group, following several spates between Zifa and the
players over monetary issues.
He said the players concentrated more on matters off the pitch yet they should have concerned themselves more on doing their primary duties.
“The Warriors were involved in politics instead of playing football on the pitch. They let the nation down,” he said.
Some people have blamed Zifa for failing to handle financial issues over the course of the tournament with players threatening to boycott matches.
By Friday last week each player had been paid US$17 500 with an outstanding balance of US$6 500 and the players threatened not to fulfill their must win match against the DRC until the
balance was settled.
China-based striker Nyasha Mushekwi intervened and promised to pay out all the balances from his own pocket and with that promise the Warriors returned to training.
However, they were to produce their worst performance at the tournament, suffering the heaviest defeat of this edition.
The Warriors have never gone beyond the group stage of the tournament since their maiden appearance in Tunisia in 2004. Two years ago in Gabon, they were winless managing only a 1-1
draw against Algeria.
This time around they have managed a point following another 1-1 draw against Uganda, having lost 1-0 to Egypt.
The 4-0 hammering by the DRC marked the end of their interest in this tournament. The Warriors arrived at the tournament with a lot of promise, seeking to reach the quarter-finals for
the first time.
They left with their tails between their legs after mustering just that single point against Uganda in a match that they should have won comfortably.
While some of the players will be pondering their futures, it is almost given that Zifa will wield the axe on Chidzambga and his assistants Rahman Gumbo, Lloyd Mutasa and Brenna Msiska.
Chidzambga has never been a favourite of the Kamambo administration and there were some overtures to axe him soon after the new board took office following elections in December last
And after failing the set targets, Chidzambga knows what is coming, however, with over US$30 000 in his nostro account he should be comfortable for a while.