THE Zimbabwe senior national soccer team completed another miserable week with a home defeat to Ghana in a Fifa Africa Group G World Cup qualifier which was preceded by a 3-1 throbbing away from home against the same opponents.
They only have a single point to show for their efforts in the four matches that they have played in this group and have been eliminated from the competition for a single slot to the play-offs.
The back-to-back defeats to Ghana have been a wake-up call for the Warriors’ technical team to introspect, find lasting solutions and build a team that competes for honours.
The games showed all and sundry that some pairs of legs for some of our players are now tired, hence the need to fuse new blood with experience.
This is a fact that we should fathom that some of our best players are no longer as good as they were during the peak of their careers.
Some of the players in the team have seen their best days and it’s time to build the team around younger fresh players as we prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations 2021.
When interim coach Norman Mapeza mentioned that there was need to remove deadwood, Captain Knowledge Musona and Khama Billiat quickly came to mind.
The two have been our best players over the years and they have done a lot to put this country on the world football map.
However, reality has dawned that they world have passed their sell-by date, so it is trite that we give them lesser roles to make way for younger and more energetic players.
Let’s compare ourselves with Ghana, some of the stars in their team are 21-year olds.
They have Mohammed Kudus and Kamaldeen Sulemana, who are both 21, among a host of other younger players now taking over from their older players and the system seems to be working for the Black Stars.
In our case we cannot immediately discard our older players, but it’s time to ease them out and give fresh talent a platform to carry the team forward.
There is always time for everything, and these senior player have played their part to keep the team afloat with some sublime performances during their peak. Now it is time they assume other roles and pave way for youngsters such as Jordan Zemura, Tino Kadewere, Brendon Galloway, Jonah Fabisch, and Prince Dube, among others.
Mapeza should improve on his team selection. It boggles the mind how on earth he selected Talbert Shumba to be the Warriors first choice goalkeeper ahead of more experienced Washington Arubi and even Spanish-based Martin Maphisa. Shumba made a schoolboy blunder, failing to cover his line and clear a not so dangerous free kick from just outside the box.