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Date: 21 March 2019

  Zimbabwean - Soccer

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Warriors' flood of promises: God or bad at this juncture?

[Posted 10 Oct 2012]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Warriors on the verge of qualification: Are the promises "messing" up their heads?
Just a few days ahead of a crucial qualifier against Angola for a ticket to the Africa Cup of Nations 2013 to be hosted by neighbours South Africa, and with a 3-1 reasonably healthy lead, the Zimbabwean players have been hit by incentive promises left, right and centre.

While the incentives are good as a source of motivation, the problem with Zimbabwean sponsors, always, is the timing of such incentives.

Each AFCON or World Cup campaign when the team is just 90 minutes away from qualifying, has seen the sponsorships and goodwill which was absent from the first day of qualifiers suddenly flood the path of the players.

The experience in the past appears to be that the players often wilt under the weight of expectations and eventually lose focus of the important goal  and perform poorly in that final match.

There has been talk about a promise of residential stands in some posh suburb in Harare for all the players, despite some of them hailing from cities like Bulawayo, Mutare and others.

Some rumours have it that the Warriors will receive US$10 000 for qualifying for the AFCON finals, and then this and that. Surely all this is bad timing for a squad that should be focussing on the important match at hand on Sunday.

Sponsors are very important to the cause of the Warriors, and they should be applauded for coming on board. Zifa should maybe have started this initiative months before now.

Maybe they can be forgiven for trying at least, and it could as well be that the success of the team thus far against the likes of little Burundi and the 3-1 home victory has ignited the interest and excitement of a nation that has seen little success to celebrate over the years. 

Many writers have over the years cautioned against this mad rush to pour promises in front of the boys ahead of a crucial fixture. They have a point though.

Promises which are geared to motivate players can be just the stroke of genius needed to inspire players...BUT only if well-timed, well managed and appropriately communicated. There should be a communication strategy or protocol in place at ZIFA to better manage communication of these promises ahead of major matches like the one coming on Sunday.

Having said the above, one cannot lose sight of the efforts made by the corporate sector in Zimbabwe for rallying behind the Warriors at their hour of need.

In future,the fundraising efforts should be arranged earlier to allow the proceeds of the initiative to be directed towards a better and more noble purpose such as helping to prepare the team for major tournaments.

Players will surely be happy to have their pockets fattened by proceeds from the fundraising. But if they are to be honest given the realities of our Zimbabwean situation in this day and age, the proceeds are better utilised for arranging training camp ahead of the AFCON finals when, and hopefully not if, Zimbabwe's place is confirmed at the end of the 90 minutes in Luanda on Sunday.

It serves little purpose to have the players sit with the promises of residential stands in Borrowdale, provided this is at all true and real, and splash around the US$10 000 cash after the Angola tie, but thereafter ZIFA runs out of cash to arrange meaningful friendlies and a a proper training camp ahead of South Africa 2013.

VISIONARY LEADERSHIP is still very critical and we should avoid the pitfalls of getting lost in our minds in the euphoria of being so near, yet so far away from South Africa 2013.

Bakiti! We are yet to qualify. Bhora pasi. Let us remember that there is life after beating Angola or after getting a result in Luanda. There is a bigger challenge ahead. Let us not speak and act as if beating Angola is the end in itself. It is just the means to the end.

REMINDER: The end that we all have in mind is for our beloved Warriors to go and make Zimbabwe and Southern Africa proud in South Africa in 2013, in the same manner the Zambians made all of us from this rich COSAFA region revel in pride when they conquered Africa in Equatorial Guinea/Gabon in 2012.

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