FOR 40 years, Zimbabwe has produced real talent such as Bruce Grobbelaar and Peter Ndlovu on the soccer field, who went on to be snapped up by foreign clubs and did the country much proud. Unfortunately, that talent has failed to shore up the country’s performances at the international level, with the southern African nation making feeble attempts at continental and World Cup titles.
And again this year, Zimbabwe is on the field attempting to yet again prove its worth in the footballing fraternity. This week, the country’s senior men’s soccer team was drawn into Group G for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, a group in which many believe the country has a real chance of, for the first time, reaching the global soccer showcase. The group has three others, giants Ghana, perennial chancers South Africa and minnows Ethiopia.
While, indeed, Zimbabwe has a real chance of qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar, everything will boil down to how the country’s soccer administrators approach the challenge ahead.
Past experience has shown that even with the best talent in its team the country has floundered and left citizens heart-broken, with many suspecting foul play in the form of match-fixing. To prove this allegation at one time, the country was embroiled in a messy match-fixing saga, albeit the matches having been mere friendly matches. The matter left our image blemished.
For the Warriors team to break the jinx that has denied them and the country soccer glory, those at Zifa and the players themselves need to keep remembering that such opportunities should never be missed because they open up opportunities for them as individuals and raise the country’s profile.
It is undeniable that in the past, egos and selfish agendas betrayed us as a nation. And we do hope that this time around the players and Zifa keep the nation at heart. This is a perfect opportunity to shake off the whipping boys status. This is the chance to club with the giants.
We also hope that government will come on board in a big way in terms of availing adequate financial support so that our lads banish the thoughts of selling games to feed their families.
If the country adequately awards the Warriors for their efforts, we are sure this match-fixing scourge and poor performances at the critical moment will never visit our camp again. Good luck Warriors!