insidesport:with MICHAEL KARIATI
THE confusion that reigned supreme in the run-up to today’s international friendly match against Malawi is a lesson for those who run our football to do their things right and in time.
All the problems that Zifa encountered along the way could have been avoided had the national football federation handled their issues with a sense of urgency as other serious national football-controlling bodies do.
Zifa had the Fifa international calendar and knew exactly when the Warriors were supposed to play, but could not do the right things when time permitted.
The national football federation could not do the simplest thing of writing invitation letters — in time — to foreign clubs asking them to release their players for international duty, and in particular for today’s game against Malawi.
This, we all know, is the duty of the team manager, but instead Zifa decided to experiment by delegating these duties to office staff who had never done it before, and the results were disastrous.
Now, Zimbabwe is faced with a game that is no longer as important as it should have been since most of the players Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic wanted to assess during the match have returned to their respective bases.
In fact, this friendly is no longer of use and should have been cancelled when the player crisis boiled over.
What is the use of playing an Africa Cup of Nations warm-up match when the players at hand will not feature when the qualifiers resume next month with Zimbabwe to face Algeria home and away?
In fact, the majority of the players in Malawi will not even be called into camp for the Desert Foxes game, raising questions why they were taken to Malawi for.
The web of confusion at Zifa has also hit the Malawi Football Federation who should be regretting why — in the first place — they agreed to play the Warriors at this crucial time of Afcon preparations.
The Flames will not benefit much from playing a Warriors side that is composed mostly of locally based players who last kicked a ball on November 16, 2019, when the curtain came down on the Castle Lager Premiership.
The questions are: Where is the Warriors team manager? How long does it take to appoint him? Wasn’t it appropriate to appoint an interim manager while the search for a permanent one continued?
Or alternatively, why didn’t Zifa allow Wellington Mpandare to continue in that position while they went ahead with “interviews” for the post?
With the back-to-back Afcon matches against Algeria just a month away, won’t Zimbabwe find themselves in the same player crisis due to this team manager issue?
What we do not want to see is a repeat of what happened prior to the Malawi trip when our players failed to come because their invitation letters for the game were sent late to their clubs.
Going back a bit, Zifa could not put in place a single international friendly match during this Fifa international period before Malawi came to the rescue.
The question is: Where was Zifa all along when other football federations were organising warm-up matches for their national teams?
Does this mean that had Malawi not invited the Warriors for this match, this Fifa period would have passed without a game for the Zimbabwe team?
Please, Mr Kamambo and acting vice-president Philemon Machana, put your house in order. We cannot — every day and every week — be pointing out the blunders of Zifa as if they are the only sporting association in the country.
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