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Zimbabwe National Soccer Team's World Cup Defeat Riles Fans

The Zimbabwe Soccer Supporters' Association has called on the Zimbabwe Football Association to urgently put its house in order and empower the national team coach to carry out his duties effectively as the country embarks on the 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign.

This follows calls for Warriors coach Rahman Gumbo to be dismissed after a 0-1 defeat to Guinea in Zimbabwe's first qualifier match at the National Sports stadium on Sunday.

Gumbo took over from Norman Mapeza in February this year in the backdrop of the Asiagate match fixing scandal in which Mapeza was implicated. The team has yet to win a game under Gumbo.

The Zimbabwe Warriors last qualified for continental championships in the 2006 Africa Cup Of Nations in Egypt under coach Charles Mhlauri.

Since then the team has struggled to find its form with analysts blaming corrupt football administrators for promoting their personal welfare at the expense of the game of soccer.

Critics are also accusing the country’s soccer administrators of failing to come up with a structured youth development program which will groom future players for the national team.

But ZIFA Vice President Ndumiso Gumede rebutted critics on Studio7’s Live Talk program Monday, saying the country has a sound junior policy. He added that the nation’s Under 13 soccer team is currently featuring in a soccer tournament in Poland.

“ZIFA would like the nation to join us in ensuring that the team qualifies for the 2014 World Cup and it was bad luck that we lost to Guinea, as we played a better match, “ said Gumede.

Soccer Supporters spokesman Spencer Manguwa, however, cautioned fans who are blaming Gumbo.

Manguwa told VOA's Marvellous Mhlanga Nyahuye that ZIFA needs to wrap up the match fixing scandal and clear all players not implicated so they can come back to national duty instead of heaping blame on the coach.