SINCE June 4, Zimbabweans have each day been waking up to a new chapter in the never-ending circus involving the dissolution of the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) and the creation of the National Football Association of Zimbabwe (Nafaz).
INSIDESPORT WITH MICHAEL KARIATI
Sadly, the toothless Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC) has been unable to douse the flames as they have been sitting on the sidelines watching, while Sport and Recreation minister Makhosini Hlongwane has also been another onlooker in the whole saga.
With former Zifa employees having since taken their matter to court, and Zifa’s creditors also taking the same route, while Nafaz president Phillip Chiyangwa boasts that they have sunk into the water with their money, there seems to be no solution in sight to the drama.
The Lifelong Footballers Trust of Zimbabwe headed by Francis Zimunya and Chris Sambo have also taken advantage of the situation by giving the distraught Zifa employees and the creditors a shoulder to lean on as a way of settling their own personal vendettas against the Chiyangwa regime.
Unfortunately, this whole Zifa and Nafaz drama has become a distraction to real football issues.
Right now, the Mighty Warriors are inactive. They have no idea how they are going to prepare for the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro in August. The same applies for the Warriors — even though they have qualified for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals, looking at their performances against the Flames of Malawi and Swaziland before that, there is no question that the Warriors are not well-attuned to the demands of the 2017 Nations Cup finals.
So far, what we have seen are individual brilliances from Knowledge Musona and Khama Billiat, but that will not be enough at the Nations Cup finals, as Sweden will testify after their first round exit from Euro 2016 as a result of overrelying on Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Warriors need as many friendly matches as possible against strong opposition in the form of Ghana’s Black Stars, the Atlas Lions of Morocco, the Elephants of the Ivory Coast or even the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon to build them into an all-round team instead of a team that relies on individuals.
There is also the issue of Zimbabwean clubs’ performance on the African safari. Why are our teams being knocked out in the early stages when at one time we had Dynamos reaching the final and the semifinals of the Caf Champions League and Monomotapa qualifying for the lucrative mini-league stage? Where are we getting it wrong? These are the issues that the football leadership should be looking into instead of being at the war front every day.
Whatever the situation on the ground, the solution to the crisis that was created by the dissolution of Zifa and the creation of the Nafaz lies in declaring null and void the events of the contentious meeting of June 4.
Chiyangwa should open his eyes and see that the dissolution of Zifa created for him a lot of enemies and he even lost some friends.
Instead of being egoistic, Chiyangwa should swallow his pride, gather the football family together once again, and do the right thing that does not hurt or jeopardise any party.
Fighting every day will not help Zimbabwean football, Mr Nafaz President.
Cry, Our Beloved Chevrons
One cricket fan was heard saying he will not set foot at Harare Sports Club again unless the Chevrons start winning.
He is not alone as spectators have been getting fewer and fewer at the home of Zimbabwean cricket because fans can no longer stomach the humiliation that their team suffers in each game they play.
Although the Chevrons put up brilliant shows in the Twenty20 International series against India which they unluckily lost 2-1, it is the results of the One Day International (ODI) series against the Asians that has sparked the supporters’ new attitude towards the team they used to shower with affection.
That Zimbabwe could lose by as high as eight, nine and 10 wickets speaks volumes of how the once mighty have fallen from grace to grass.
What is ironic is that although Zimbabwe has over a period of time changed countless coaches, the results have not been forthcoming. From Robin Brown, the late Kevin Curran, Walter Chawaguta and now to Makhaya Ntini, via Alan Butcher, Andy Waller, Steven Mangongo and Dav Whatmore.
The question is: Were all these coaches not good enough for the Zimbabwean team? The answer is a big NO. The truth is that all these coaches came and used the same underperforming players — Hamilton Masakadza, Vusi Sibanda, Elton Chigumbura and others — with the selectors failing to take the bold decision to introduce new talent.
Now that losing has become the norm for the Chevrons, what needs to be done is to make a bold decision and axe the experienced but underperforming players to replace them with some members of the Under-19 team that was at the World Cup in Bangladesh.
Information filtering through is that some of the Under-19 players were not offered contracts by Zimbabwe Cricket and have left to play their game outside the country.
However, they can still be traced while at the same time giving a chance to those who are still in the country.
Immediate results will not matter. What is important is building a team that will make Zimbabwe proud in the future instead of keeping one that is making fans cry after every game they play.
Reputation does not win matches but current form does.
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