WARRIORS skipper Benjani Mwaruwari has warned the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) to appoint a substantive coach and begin preparations for the 2010 World Cup in earnest after they were pooled with Kenya, Namibia and Guinea in the qualifying draw last Sun
Despite being drawn with fairly lightweight teams, Mwaruwari, who plays for Portsmouth in England, said there were no easy games in African football.
“People will look at that draw and say it’s easy,” Mwaruwari said this week. “But there are no easy games in African football anymore.
“People should remember how we lost to Malawi (1-0) in the African Cup of Nations group stages, a game which on paper we were fancied to win. We had the wrong approach and wrong attitude.”
Zimbabwe have been without a coach since Charles Mhlauri was sacked as the country’s African Cup of Nations qualification bid faltered.
Norman Mapeza, a former captain, is currently the caretaker coach.
Mwaruwari said: “We need to prepare properly. During the African Cup of Nations campaign, we were on holiday when other teams were playing friendlies with major teams.
“We were a team of strangers in Malawi because we had not played with each other in nine months. If we do that again, we won’t qualify. We need to do something immediately.
“The new coach must be given everything he requires. Zifa have not consulted me on the new coach. I guess they don’t have to.
“But whoever it is, he needs every available resource. The team needs to know each other . . . even boozers play every Sunday, yet we go for months without playing together.”
The Warriors must do well against the Harambee Stars of Kenya, the Brave Warriors of Namibia and Guinea if they are entertaining any hopes of going into the hat again for the second round draw of Africa’s best 20 teams.
It is from that second round of qualifiers that each of the five group winners would qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Tendai Madzorera, the Zifa vice chairman in charge of national teams, admitted the football association was struggling to lure a good coach because of financial problems.
“It is a fair draw for us. Unfortunately, we would have wanted to have a coach in place before the draw, but things did not work out according to plan,” he said.
“We do not have the finances to get a foreign coach. It is the duty of the government to get the resources for us to get a high-level coach to take us to South Africa.”
Gibson Homela, a former Zimbabwe coach, said the other countries have a head start ahead of Zimbabwe.
Homela warned: “On paper, it looks easy, but the bottom line is that there are no signs from our camp that we are ready for the games next year. Guinea and Namibia have qualified for the African Cup of Nations, meaning they will be well ahead in terms of preparations by February.
“Any other serious team will try to organise friendlies with teams that have been to the Afcon and not those who failed to go to Ghana.
“It could have been better for us if we had a coach at the draw to make immediate contacts about friendly matches.”
Moses Chunga, a former Warriors captain and assistant coach, said: “Zimbabwe needs to have a coach in place, tiri kutamba (we are joking). We have failed to qualify for Ghana and we then take a year to appoint another coach. People must get serious.
“Who would want to play a team without a coach? It really shows we do not belong to such competitions, but just Cosafa.”
Ndumiso Gumede, former Zifa CEO, said it was a “good draw”.
“I think the whole problem has been lack of innovation from the Zifa board, leaving too many of their decisions to the government,” Gumede said. “The government cannot run football, they have other problems, so Zifa must work with the corporate world.
“They must give the corporate world room to believe they are a better organised association, able to run the game professionally without interference from politicians.” — New Zimbabwe.