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Zimbabweans Celebrate Warriors Victory, AFCON Qualification

  • Michael Kariati

Zimbabwe’s Warriors are celebrating after qualifying for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals following 10 years in the wilderness.

Although the Warriors still have a game to play against the Syli Nationale of Guinea, the Zimbabweans have already qualified for the finals in Gabon after their 3-0 destruction of Malawi. They have an unassailable lead of 11 points.

Swaziland can reach 11 points should they overcome Malawi in their last match, but Sihlangu have an inferior 1-0 head to head record against Zimbabwe, which gives the Warriors the ticket to the finals with a game to spare.

Czech Republic-based Costa Nhamoinesu, who plays for Sparta Prague, says he cannot describe how happy he is for achieving this long held dream.

Coach Kalisto Pasuwa joins Sunday Chidzambwa in 2004 and Charles Mhlauri in 2006 as the only coaches in Zimbabwean football history to take the Warriors to the continental football finals. Pasuwa is a very happy man.

Captain Willard Katsande too has joined the legendary Peter Ndlovu as the second captain to take the Warriors to the promised land and says he feels great.

Cuthbert Malajila, who scored the final goal, says he is happy to have been part of the team as the 2017 Nations Cup finals would obviously be his first and last for him.

In the two occasions in which the Warriors were at the finals, the Zimbabweans were eliminated in the group stages and Pasuwa says there is need for thorough preparations ahead of the finals in January.

But the president of the newly-created National Football Association of Zimbabwe, Phillip Chiyangwa, says they will only draw up their program of action after the qualifying campaign is over.

This National Football Association of Zimbabwe was formed over the weekend after the Zifa Assembly decided to dissolve the Zimbabwe Football Association saddled with a $6 million debt.

Ironically, the same leadership that was at Zifa remains in power with Chiyangwa as the president and Omerga Sibanda as his vice.

However, one of the Zifa creditors, Nobert Chawira, laughed off this development saying Zifa is trying to run away from paying its debts from the proceeds of the Malawi game.

Chawira says whatever games those in the football leadership are playing, one thing he knows is that Zifa have properties in the form of the Zifa House and the Zifa Village, which he can still use to get what he is owed.

Another creditor, former Zifa board member finance Benard Gwarada, says he is not worried of the latest developments as his case is with the courts.
In the meantime, it is celebration time for Zimbabwean football.

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