Zimbabwean football authorities should not allow themselves to kneel down and beg for services from Warriors players who think they are bigger than the Warriors of Zimbabwe themselves.
BY MICHAEL KARIATI
A case in point is that of Reading midfielder Andy Rinomhota who has refused to come for Afcon 2021 and Queens Park Rangers’ Macauley Bonne who continues to give excuses whenever called for national duty.
Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare revealed that they approached Rinomhota with regard to Afcon 2021, but the player refused, while Bonne continues to play hide-and-seek as regards to his future with the Zimbabwe team.
One thing that is clear is that both Rinomhota and Bonne — who were born in England — have dreams of playing for England and believe playing for the Warriors is below them.
They appear to carry the belief that they are far much superior for the Warriors and belong instead, to the class of Harry Kane and Marcus Rushford to play for England.
One fact of life is that no matter where one was born, as long he has Zimbabwean parents, he remains Zimbabwean no matter how hard he tries to run away from that fact.
Whether Rinomhota, who was born in Leeds, one day plays for England, the fact that his father is from this country makes him a pure Zimbabwean whether he likes it or not.
However, as Zimbabwe we are not all that too desperate for football success to the extent of kneeling down to beg players to come and play for the country.
The choice of playing for which country is theirs, but what we do not want to see are players who then make a U-turn to play for the Warriors when their initial intentions to play for another country hits a brick wall.
There are many who behave like that in Africa, footballers who want to play for their own countries only after they have been “rejected” somewhere else.
Some even refuse to come for Afcon and World Cup qualifiers, but want places in the travelling party when the team qualifies for the finals.
Some might recall the bitter experience of South Africa’s Sean Dundee who in 2002 learnt it the hard way after turning his back on Bafana Bafana preferring Germany.
Dundee, who was then playing in Germany after leaving South Africa, refused to turn out for Bafana Bafana in Afcon and World Cup qualifiers thinking that he would be selected for Germany for the World Cup in Korea and Japan.
The results of his decision will remain a permanent feature of his football story and that of the world after Germany did not pick him and — as God would have it — South Africa qualified for the World Cup and also ignored him.
That is the same path that Bonne and Rinomhota appear to be taking, believing that they are meant for England and “too big” for Zimbabwe.
Unforeseen, however, is the fact that if they were all that good for England, by now, they should have been part of the England set-up as England has a tradition of giving talented players their chance at international level at an early age.
Jude Bellingham is 17 years old, Bukayo Saka is 19, Phil Foden is 20, Mason Mount is 22, yet Rinomhota is 23 and Bonne is now 25 and still to get that England call-up.
Going back a bit, players like Theo Walcott, Wayne Rooney and Raheem Sterling made their debuts for England at the age of 17 while the likes of Michael Owen, Jack Wilshere, Jadon Sancho and Luke Shaw were 18.
There are also too many of them who played for England at the age of 19, and 20 not mentioning those at 21 and 22, yet Bonne is still dreaming of an England Lions’ romance at 25 and for that matter playing for a modest club in the Championship.
Perhaps Bonne and Rinomhota should learn from Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha who quickly realised that England was not for him, but the Ivory Coast — his homeland — and now Zaha is enjoying the sun with the Elephants.
We also have our own examples in the form of Adam Chicksen, Tendai Darikwa, Jordan Zemura and Brendon Galloway, who have pledged their allegiance to Zimbabwe, although they had other choices.
As the clock ticks, we only hope that in this era of Covid-19 uncertainty, those loyal and committed to Zimbabwe will come to help the Warriors qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and later on the 2022 World Cup.
From the outset, the World Cup might look just like a dream, but in reality it can be done. If Togo, Angola, Honduras and Jamaica, could qualify for the World Cup, why can’t we do the same?
- For your views, comments, and suggestions, email email@example.com or WhatsApp on 0773 266 779.