A decision by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, Sports, Arts and Culture, to summon national team coaches to appear before it following the Warriors and the Mighty Warriors failures, clearly shows that the government arm is running faster than the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) in trying to solve the Zimbabwe football family’s problems.
Inside Sport with Michael Kariati
I would have deliberately called it the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sports but I have realised that they are trying to educate those at Zifa on how things should be done as the ART and CULTURE of failure has remained in the Zimbabwean game.
This was the first time I heard of Members of Parliament asking national team coach Ian Gorowa and Mighty Warriors mentor Rosemary Mugadza to answer to questions on the performance of their teams.
But the committee has seen the weaknesses on the part of the football controlling body to the extent that they have decided to do Zifa’s job instead.
Zifa, as the employers of the two coaches, should have done this long back and by now the nation should have heard from Gorowa and Mugadza as to what exactly happened on that route to Namibia and Morocco for the Africa Cup of Nations and the Africa Women’s Championships.
By now, we should have been talking of what Zifa are trying to do to ensure that our national teams do not remain the punching bags of the international community instead of going backwards.
It is three months since that Taifa Stars debacle and so far, all we know is that Gorowa and Mugadza were asked to submit reports to a High Performance Committee. This committee was supposed to look at the reports and make recommendations to the Zifa Board.
The question is: where is this High Performance Committee coming from when Zimbabwe does not have a High Performance Centre? What recommendations were they expected to come up with when some of them are interested parties in this whole national team coach job itself?
Prior to this latest development, what else has this High Performance Committee done on behalf of Zifa? Or is it that the Tanzania debacle is being used as an experiment?
The Warriors have not qualified for the past four editions of the Africa Cup of Nations and are not going to the 2015 finals in Morocco after being eliminated by Tanzania and in the preliminary round for that matter.
What is even disheartening is the fact that the Zimbabwean game is going down at an alarming rate when the once so-called weak footballing nations are picking up. Botswana and Namibia qualified for the Nations Cup when the Warriors were at home and now even Lesotho have made it into the group qualifying stages for the 2015 finals.
The truth is that Zifa do not seem to have a clue as to where exactly things are going wrong and what needs to be done if the Warriors are to be as successful as happened in the past.
They are failing to source sponsorship for accommodation, travel kits, and even for mineral water.
The tales coming from the grapevine are even more disturbing. I am told that visiting Barcelona coaches Daniel Bigasalsina and Isaac Guerrero Hernandez had to donate 10 balls each to the Warriors and the Mighty Warriors after they had been told that the national teams did not have practice balls.
This is not a laughing matter.
Yes, the next Africa Cup of Nations is way ahead in 2017, and the World Cup in 2018, and in between them is the Africa Women’s Championships and the Africa Nations Championships (Chan) in 2016.
This might seem far away but in football, time moves fast and now is the time to lay the foundation for those tournaments instead of waiting for tomorrow.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee was trying to get it straight from the coaches who are the men and women on the ground.
They should be applauded for taking the initiative in trying to solve the problems in football and in particular the national team which has fallen from grace to grass.
But what we are not sure of is whether the committee itself is sincere in trying to resolve the case of the national soccer teams.
The chairman, who happens to be my good old friend, the Honourable Themba Mliswa, was in Brazil for the World Cup finals — but with whom?