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Date: 25 November 2017

  Zimbabwean - Soccer

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Will ZIFA ever learn and redeem the Warriors?

[Posted 08 Sep 2012]
[By Editorial Comment]
Will ZIFA ever learn and redeem  the Warriors?
Scribes from media houses in Zimbabwe are almost predictable especially towards a competitive national soccer team, the Warriors' match. There will always be a story about the Zimbabwe Football Association having bungled this or that.

The latest bungling involves letters sent to foreign clubs for key striker Knowledge Musona's Germany Bundesliga  club Augsburg and key midfielder Tinashe Nengomasha's club Bidvest Wits.

Both key players will be absent at Rufaro Stadium because, apparently the letter requesting their release arrived later than the required 14 days or was not received at all.

For Musona, a letter requesting his release was only received by Augsburg on 3 September, the very day the player was expected to at least have joined the camp to prepare for the crucial first leg of the final 2013 Afric Cup of Nations qualifier against Angola.

In an attempt to cover for Zifa's incompetence, and more specifically the failings of the current  Warriors team manager, Nyika Chifamba, the team manager sought to mislead the nation by claiming that Musona was on his way to Harare,when he knew very well that he had bungled the issue of the release of the player by failing to communicate with Augsburg on time.

Musona has decided to lift the lead on the deception coming from Zifa House.

While Chifamba painted a picture that he had challenges getting in touch with the player, it has now come to light that all this time Chifamba knew very well that Musona was not coming for the Angola tie for two reasons.

Firstly, ZIFA failed to communicate and request Musona's release within the Fifa stipulated 14 working days period. Secondly, Chifamba had been advised of Musona's injury sustained on Monday, a day the player should have joined camp.

Musona has revelaed the above in a wide-ranging interview with the Hearld about his alleged "delayed arrival". Musona even alleges that despite Zifa's failure to communicate on time, Chifamba attempted to force the player to leave Germany without his club's blessings.

“I am surprised that when I spoke to the team manager on the phone, he
was questioning my commitment and he insisted that I should just come
because this is the national team.

“But I have been trying to tell Chifamba that I cannot just decide to fly to Zimbabwe even if the ticket was there.

“I
am only an employee at Augsburg and I would have to be cleared by the
club but the fact is the letter of request only got to the club offices
on Monday which is the day I was supposed to travel yet I would have to
follow the club’s rules.

“Things are a bit different in terms of the
management at Augsburg and they insist on getting notification at least
14 days before the match.

“When I was at Hoffenheim, I was not
playing regularly, and they would not mind allowing me to go to the
national team even if the notification might have come late," Musona revealed.

Musona sought to refute allegations and insinuations from Zifa that he is not committed to the cause of his motherland by failing to be available for the Angola tie.

“I don’t think it would be fair to say that because I could not make it
for reasons beyond my control then it means I don’t care for the
national team.

“I travelled to Burundi on the day of the game and
still managed to play and I would have really wanted to play again this
weekend.

“If the team manager is an honest man then he knows that I
am very much committed to my country and I want us to qualify for the
Nations Cup, it would be great to play at the finals in South Africa,’’
Musona said.

So if Musona's side of the story is to be believed, then it means that Chifamba deliberately tried to cover up some failure by someone in Zifa, and the person who is  expected to handle the issue of letters to clubs is the team manager, Chifamba himself.

Similar challenges were encountered for the Burundi/Zimbabwe match played inn Bujumbura on 29 February 2012. Noel Kaseke and Dickson Choto couldnot join camp due to problems with Chifamba's communication with foreign clubs.

For the same challenge to rear its ugly head again a few months down the line, is surely a sign that Chifamba and his employers Zifa havelearnt nothing better about managing the delicate affairs of the national team.

One wonders why Zifa has been so stubborn as to reject calls to re-engage an experienced team manager like  Shariff Mussa to take care of business and avoid embarrassments suffered during the reign of Chifamba.

The Warriors is without an experienced anchorman in the absence of Nengomasha. If Musona's invitation had arrived earlier, he could not have been in Germany on Monday when he was injured at training, and on Sunday, the Warriors would have a potent strike force.

Zimbabwe will be weaker without these key players, and it is time that those who fail the nation through negligence of duty mustbe called to account for their actions. The Sports and Recreation Commission should now seek an indaba with Zifa to deal with the association's shenanigans.

The national soccer team is already decimated because of tens of players,some who might be found to be innocent, who remain sidelined because a Zifa Ethics committee has not been able to finalise its inquiries into alleged match-fixing.

To now lose the services of the few remaining  quality players due to the mother soccer governing body's ineptitude is too much for the nation to swallow. Cuthbert Dube and company are fortunate in that Zimbabweans are generally a patient lot and they have learnt to put up with poor leadership in the administration of football for a long time. 

BUT time will come when the thousands of fans who pay their hard earned funds to fill the stadiums to support the Warriors will feel that enough of bungling is really enough!

If there is one thing that  the Zifa under Cuthbert Dube'sleadership is fast becoming known for, is bungling issues.

Question marks have been raised over issues such as the appointment of the Warriors', handling of issues affecting referees,  poor handling of junior national teams  as exemplified by our recent failure to send the Under, 20 to Angola to fulfill a 2nd leg fixture in a competition, poor communication with the outside world including late notification of clubs of player call-ups, failure to adequately prepare teams for major games, among many other failures.

It is time that Zifa puts its house in order, or pave way for better leaders to rescue our ailing football!

Give us feedback to this article including your suggested solutions to the challenges affecting our national soccer team, the Warriors and Zimbabwean football  in general. Send your feedback to murbright@gmail.com or brightonm@beezsports.com

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