Warriors watch in despair

Warriors captain Knowledge Musona’s

By Kevin Mapasure
With the door firmly shut on the Warriors from international football, the nation can only wait and wonder what the future holds particularly with the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers looming large.

Zimbabwe have been banned from Fifa-sanctioned events and look set to miss out on the 2023 Afcon qualifiers that kick off in May, if the world’s football governing body does not lift the ban before the draw next month.

Fifa have stood firm on their demands for the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) to reinstate the suspended Zifa board led by Felton Kamambo.

SRC on the other hand are steadfast that the board will not be reinstated and they have formed a restructuring committee which will prepare groundwork for elections by end of year.

The reality of an international ban is now sinking in, particularly this weekend where other nations especially neighbours, South Africa and Zambia, are engaged in international friendlies as they prepare for the Afcon qualifiers.

Yesterday, Zambia played Congo Brazzaville in Turkey and Chipolopolo, who failed to qualify for the last Afcon, fielded a full strength side, with only Leicester striker Patrick Daka absent.

They will play against Benin tomorrow.

South Africa squared off against Guinea and they will be travelling to Europe for a dream match against France in front of 50 000 fans.

The Warriors rarely make good use of the Fifa international window by engaging in useful friendlies, but at least they could be looking forward to the draw for the qualifiers with interest.

As it is the Warriors don’t even have a coach after Norman Mapeza’s contract expired at the end of the 2021 Afcon finals held this year in Cameroon.

The Zifa councillors have said they will convene an extra ordinary general meeting at the end of next month whose main agenda is to get rid of some of the Zifa board members.

They said that they were confident that the outcome of that meeting will get the blessings of Fifa.

But even if Fifa were to endorse that meeting and its resolutions, it will come a little too late for the Warriors with the draw for the 2023 Afcon qualifiers set for next month.

Players can only watch in frustration as days go by without any meaningful movement that could lead to the Fifa ban being lifted in time for the Warriors to claim their spot in Pot Three of the Afcon draw.

Failure to make it into the Afcon qualifiers would see some of the players’ international careers cut short prematurely.

Captain and legend Knowledge Musona, in the twilight of his career, could bow out in underwhelming fashion.

It could spell the end for players that are in their 30s with the team only likely to return to the Afcon stage in the 2025 finals.

  • Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinmapasure