insidesport:with MICHAEL KARIATI
THERE are some who do not like the leadership at Zifa and others who were not happy with the choice of Joey Antipas as Zimbabwe national soccer team coach, but this is not the time for that but the time to unite and give the Warriors all the support they need.
This is also not the time for the continuation of debate as to why the game against the Zebras of Botswana was moved away from Barbourfields Stadium to the National Sports Stadium, but the time to ensure that the Warriors have the required financial support to begin their campaign with a bang against Botswana on Friday and Zambia’s Chipolopolo, a few days later.
The fact remains that Zifa are broke but these are not games for Zifa to play but for the Zimbabwe national soccer team and whatever differences the football family have, this is the time to forget those old disagreements and put the interests of the nation first.
This is also not the time to ask where the Warriors fund raising committee has gone to since Egypt 2019 but the time to move forward and see to it that the Warriors’ immediate financial requirements are met.
Pat Judson, the former president of the then Amateur Athletics Association of Zimbabwe once said, “We have talent in abundance in all the four corners of the country. But without financial support, you will just be hitting those talents against the wall.”
The coaches have played their part in picking up what is with no doubt the best football talents available for Zimbabwe and it is important that the players — some of whom are coming to Zimbabwe for the first time — are made to feel comfortable not only in their accommodation but also in their appearance fees and bonuses.
It would be cruel if not unfair to expect the best from the Warriors when they are housed in sub-standard accommodation — when they do not have guaranteed appearance fees and bonuses — and above all, when they are made to travel at the last minute.
The truth is that, expectations have been heightened with the probable availability of Macauley Bonne, Cliff Moyo, Douglas Nyaupembe, Jordan Zemura, and Tivonge Rushesha; it would be good that they do not regret agreeing to come to play for Zimbabwe when they had other options to take.
Zifa have come out clear that they need about US$200 000 to make the game against Botswana and the trip to Zambia possible and it is now up to all Zimbabweans to make sure that this money is available and the dream to watch a new look Warriors, a reality.
It is a fact that sport does not enjoy the financial attention of the Zimbabwean government and in that respect it is up to the corporate world and individuals — as was the case in the past — to come to the rescue of the Zimbabwe senior national soccer team.
If this is done, Zimbabwe, and Zimbabwean football or sport in general would be the ultimate winner when eventually the Warriors qualify for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations finals.
In fact, there is more belief in the Warriors now than never before to the extent that a Nations Cup berth is expected long before the marathon qualifying campaign is over.
Following the disaster of Egypt 2019 and the controversy that followed, now is the time for Zimbabwean football to rise to the top again.
That can only be achieved if there is unity in the goals to be achieved and when everyone comes to watch the Warriors at the National Sports Stadium, not only to give morale support, but also to pay gate charges and help Zifa raise funds to pay the players and their needs.
The fans know what they want dished out by their team as they are satisfied with the quality of the player ingredients Antipas has assembled, and nothing short of winning against Zebras would constitute a national disaster.
It would be good if not great for the Warriors to begin their 2023 journey with three sets of points against the Zebras, and a point from the Independence Stadium against the Chipolopolo. To do that, the Warriors need everyone’s support.
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