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Will Warriors Take Part in 2018 World Cup?

  • Michael Kariati

ZIFA spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela, says it is wrong to throw stones at the football association. (File Photo)

ZIFA spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela, says it is wrong to throw stones at the football association. (File Photo)

The 2014 World Cup has come and gone. The next one will be in Russia in 2018.

As Germany continues to celebrate their fourth World Cup title, Zimbabwean football, on the other hand, is in a crisis.

The Warriors are out of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. The women’s soccer team has been eliminated from the 2014 Africa Women’s Championships. And the country’s junior teams have been withdrawn from international football.

This was the same story when the 2010 World Cup was staged in Africa. The same problems that have bedeviled the Zimbabwean game for years and continue with no solution in sight as one World Cup after the other is coming and going with no serious challenge from Zimbabwe.

Where exactly is Zimbabwe getting it wrong?

HARLINGTON SHERENI

Former Zimbabwe national team defender Harlington Shereni, who played his club football in France, says the situation will not change and is bound to get even worse.

Kaitano Tembo, who captained the Warriors and now coaches in South Africa at Supersport, concurs, saying Zimbabwe has a lot of talent but the problem lies in the administration of the sport.

Shereni says most football administrators in Zimbabwe don’t know anything about the game.

The former Dynamos defender believes that the best way of transforming soccer in the country is through bringing on board people who have played football at the highest level.

Zimbabwe, however, has restrictive entry points into ZIFA leadership positions as an aspiring board member is supposed to have served in a top post for at least five years.

ZIFA spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela, says it is wrong to throw stones at the football association.

He says even if somebody is brought from the moon to coach the national team, the Warriors will continue to struggle as long as Zimbabwe is failing to fund the sport.

ZIFA'S ROLE

But Shereni says it is not the duty of the government to source funds for the Warriors but that of ZIFA.

He adds that in other countries, the government only chips in to add to what the association would have sourced from their own sponsors.

Sports consultant Shepherd Chiware says ZIFA should plan in a manner in which funding is available for the national team long before a competition starts.

With no Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifiers between now and 2018, the Warriors will only return to international football in the qualifiers for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and will in the meantime be confined to the less important Confederation of Southern African Football Associations or COSAFA Castle Cup.

Zimbabwe Football Association Supporters’ Liaison Officer, Simeon Jamanda, sees this as an opportunity Zimbabwe has been waiting for.

He says this is the time for the national coach to use different player combinations in order to build a strong national squad.

FUNDS

Jamanda suggests that ZIFA should put funds aside for the Warriors to play a series of international friendly matches against strong opposition and not to wait until the last minute.

Sports Minister Andrew Langa has suggested that ZIFA should concentrate more on the Under 17, Under 20, and Under 23 national teams which should serve as a conveyor belt for the national team.

Gwesela claims ZIFA has already devised a plan for the next two to three years and makes a promise to football followers and Zimbabwe as a whole.

But the question is: Has Zimbabwe learnt something from its past failures?

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