THERE are some people who just cannot believe in themselves to an extent that they do not believe that Zimbabwe can successfully host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
Inside Sport with Michael Kariati
To them, everything to do with Zifa, or Zimbabwe, cannot succeed even if events on the ground suggest otherwise.
I am not a fan of Zifa, but I think that the decision to bid for the 2017 Nations Cup is spot on. I also believe that we have equal, if not better, chances of bagging the tournament, considering the countries we are likely to compete against: Kenya, Ethiopia, Mali, Ghana, Tanzania, and Rwanda.
While we might not compare with the likes of South Africa or Morocco in terms of stadiums, I think we have stadiums that are good enough to host that tournament given that there is still two years or so left for us to improve on what we already have.
What did Burkina Faso have when they hosted the 1998 African football festival? Only two stadiums that were fit for secondary school football and not an international football showcase.
In 2000, we lost out the Nations Cup on the pretension that the country did not have up-to-standard stadiums. But I can safely say we had far much better stadiums than what Burkina Faso had.
Our loss had far more to do with other things than what we were made to believe.
The Confederation of African Football is straight to the point — they require at least four separate venues for the competition.
We have the National Sports Stadium in Harare, an upgraded Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo, Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane and we only need some adjustments to Sakubva Stadium in Mutare or Ascot in Gweru to guarantee CAF the four venues.
Although critics have pointed out that there is no accommodation in Zvishavane for the thousands of fans expected for the contest, the fans can still be accommodated in other cities or towns and still make it to the stadiums in time. All we need is an efficient transport system.
How many people travel to Mandava Stadium from Bulawayo, Gweru, and Harare and arrive in time to watch their teams play FC Platinum?
CAF owe us. They know that they unfairly took away the 2000 Nations Cup from us and now is the time for them to make up for that.
That Zimbabwe is lobbying for co-hosting status with Zambia is a waste of time. Zambia have committed themselves to hosting the 2019 finals and they would prefer to fight their own battle than help Zimbabwe in their own cause.
As my good old friend Edmore “Kabila” Buta puts it, “Get rich or die trying.” In that respect, it will be honourable for Zimbabwe to lose after trying. And it will even be sweeter for us to succeed after doing everything on our own.
We are crying over foreign currency. Just imagine how much all those thousands of football fans will bring to Zimbabwe. The Nigerians, the Moroccans, the Senegalese, the Zambians and the South Africans, should they qualify –— millions of dollars.
The financial spin offs will be for all — including non football followers. The vendors, the transport operators, the accommodation providers, government itself, Zifa, the list of beneficiaries is endless. So, why can’t we take advantage of the Nations Cup in our time of need.
Football unites all people, Asians, blacks, coloureds, and whites. In that respect, the government should reinforce that unity by providing the much needed government guarantees.
That is what is only missing right now.
CAF have given all the prospective bidding countries up to September 30 to submit their official bids and we have only nine days to do so.
This is not the time for personalities. This is not a Cuthbert Dube or a Jonathan Mashingaidze project. This is an opportunity for Zimbabwe as a nation to bring Africa’s top footballers right on our doorsteps and make money in the process.
This is our chance. Another might never come.
And to our beloved Kepekepe
There is no way one can ignore the emotions that have been stirred by the flip flop that CAPS United are going through. Here is the feedback from some of the supporters of CAPS UNITED.
Tichaona Mushokori wrote, “I am a die-hard CAPS United supporter but the team is being run like a boozers club. Are you sure that Mangwiro is a pedestrian? This is embarrassing.”
Jangiya Makandanye from Karoi who says he is popularly known in his area as Shutto had this to say, “It touches me a lot to see CAPS United in this crisis. The legacy of the team has been destroyed. If Twine [Phiri] does not have money he should swallow his pride and bring in other investors.”
Windom Mutasa from Mutare also wrote, “My heart bleeds for CAPS United. I think they should just sell shares to us supporters. A big team needs big investment.”
Munyaradzi Chasi also added his voice, “This is Twine’s property.
Let him run it the way he sees fit. Has anyone come to your house and told you, how you should run your family? Leave Twine alone.”
The trophy cabinet is empty but Noel Nyati Nyamanhindi says he will stick to his Green Machine in their time of need, “CAPS is our team since long back. Whether in crisis or not, I will stand by the club.”
But one thing that is making the Green Machine family strong is the knowledge that all teams experience their ups and downs. Their ups, they boast, will come.
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