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Date: 23 April 2019

  Zimbabwean - Soccer

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Tactics, ZIFA blundering blamed for Warriors' points loss

[Posted 11 Oct 2010]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Tactics, ZIFA blundering blamed for Warriors" points loss

Some soccer experts who include coaches and former national team players have blamed the disappointing home draw by Zimbabwe against Cape Verde on poor tactics from the Warriors' technical bench. Beezsports thinks ZIFA should shoulder more responsibility.

The Warriors once again played with an extra defensive midfielder, and it did not help create clear scoring opportunities for the strikers Benjamin 'Benjani' Mwaruwari and Knowledge Musona.

Esrom Nyandoro, who was not called for the Liberia match, was brought back into the picture to partner Justice Majabvi in the centre of midfield. That meant a slot for a more creative midfielder went to an unnecessary second defensive midfielder.

Many commentators queried the wisdom of deploying two hard-men in the middle of the park in a home match, where a victory was badly needed. Zimbabwe had options in the middle of the park. It was possible to play Quincy Antipas instead of one of Nyandoro and Majabvi, and create opportunities for the strikers.

Former national team player Edzai Kasinauyo lamented the use of Nyandoro and Majabvi in the same team on Sunday.

“Esrom Nyandoro and Justice Majabvi should  not play in the same squad as both of them are defensive midfielders," Kasinauyo said.

He added that ZIFA should make use of FIFA friendly match dates to help coaches find the right combinations in the team.

"This is one game where we had enough strikers, all playing outside the country and have experience but could not convert the chances we created.

“There is need to make use of Fifa friendly dates. It’s important because the coaches must have enough time to come up with right combinations,” Kasinauyo added.

Former Monomotapa and Under 17 national team coach Rodwell Dhlakama was also critical of midfield tactics from the Warriors' bench.

"The first eleven thrown into the fray was okay except when the coaches used both Nyandoro and Majabvi, both defensive midfielders, when we wanted goals," Dhlakama lamented.

In Liberia, Norman Mapeza, now assistant coach, used Majabvi and Ashley Rambanepasi, an offensive player, together in the middle of the park, with Tafadzwa Rusike and Clemence Matawu on the wings. Yet the technical team has changed a bit, with the confusing roping in of Tom Saintfeit, who could not even sit on the bench this time around, thanks to ZIFA blundering.

Apparently ZIFA failed to apply for Saintfeit's work permit on time, and the coach was 'deported' by the Immigration department for working without requisite papers.

To compound matters, ZIFA blundered more than twice within the same week. After failing Saintfeit by applying for his work permit late, ZIFA blundered again by announcing Madinda Ndlovu as the caretaker coach ahead of a man who had better knowledge of the team, Mapeza.

Stung by criticism from the media, ZIFA, on Friday, decided to reverse their decision, albeit too late, and announced only on Friday, that in fact, Mapeza and Ndlovu were now co-coaches of the team.

It has been reported that the Warriors were a divided lot through out the week. Rumour has it that some players disrespected co-coach Ndlovu, and showed their support for Mapeza by clapping hands for him each time he came to speak, something they could not do when Madinda addressed them.

While this act ought to be castigated, the root of the problem is not to be found in the Warriors players. ZIFA are the main culprits through their flip-flopping through out the week.

It is not helpful to apportion blame when damage has already been done, but if the truth is to be told, ZIFA must take responsibility for turning the Warriors team into a circus last week.

The nation can only speculate what the outcome could have been, if the blundering by ZIFA had been avoided.

Perhaps if Mapeza had been left in charge as logic dictated, he could have continued with a united team, a team with better team work and understanding on the field of play, and perhaps that team could have won on Sunday.

Perhaps if Saintfeit's permit had been applied for on time, the coach could have taken full charge of the team, and the Warriors could have presented a united front on Sunday.

Perhaps, after Saintfeit was asked to leave the country, ZIFA must have done the reasonable thing of asking Mapeza to continue playing the caretaker role which he has played for almost half a year now, and there could have been continuity in the team.

None of the baove could not happen last week. Why? For the simple reason that some ZIFA board members have decided to turn Zimbabwes' most beloved sports team into their personal property which they handle as they please.

Some ZIFA board members have chosen to settle their scores with certain individuals they dislike like one Norman Mapeza they love to hate. The Warriors has been reduced into a battle field for individuals to trade 'punches' and settle old scores.

History will judge harshly those ZIFA members who are tasked with managing a national asset called the Warriors. These individuals forget that they were voted into office to serve the interests of millions of soccer loving Zimbabweans, and not to serve their own egos.

Time will come when the real people who own Zimbabwean football shall speak. And when the real stakeholders of the game demand answers, individuals will have to account for their actions.

The Sports and Recreation Commission may be forced by the will of the people to demand answers from the ZIFA individuals for the mess they have caused in the past few months they have been in office.

Yet SRC must be warned to be careful how they may attempt to enforce the will of 'the people' should they choose to do so. FIFA will not tolerate government interference into the running of football by Football Associations.

Nigeria is a recent case in point. The courts and government interferred, and FIFA imposed a ban on Nigeria and the Super Eagles were in danger of failing to fullfill their fixture against Guinea in Conakry yesterday.

By the time FIFA provisionally lifted the ban, the Super Eagles were demoralised, and they failed to fly in Conakry, resulting in a 0-1 loss to Guinea.

What is disheartening is the fact that the current ZIFA, like their predecessors, appear to have learnt absolutely nothing from the unfortunate happenings of the previous week.

Veteran administrator Ndumiso Gumede even had the cheek to argue that the players were not affected by events of last week.

"The Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet’s saga did not affect the players’ performance. Morale was high in the camp after we addressed the players.

"When Saintfiet was asked to leave the country, the training programme was not affected until the coaches announced the final squad," Gumede chose to mislead to the nation through the Chronicle.

Can it really be true Mr. Gumede, that the sending out of the country of a new coach cannot demoralise the team, whose match is less than 5-days away?

Does it make sense Mr. Gumede, that when players witness their coach being served with papers at a training pitch, it just passes them like wind blowing past them?

There is hope when an official makes an error and is prepared to own the mess and clean it up. But it is exactly the opposite when an office-bearer makes a mess, and he knows it, but chooses to conceal it, or worse still, attempts to reason his way out of the mess.

The nation was listening, when Mr. Gumede took the whole nation for granted, and assumed that all of us are less perceptive and cannot see the simple facts.

Nothing can be worse than taking the people you purport to be in service of for fools. ZIFA must be ashamed of the unfortunate utterances by its Vice-President, following the poor performance by the national team, after a week of the ZIFA-induced turmoil in the Warriors' camp.

The reality of the matter is that Zimbabwe lost two crucial points at home. The Warriors lost an opportunity to sit on top of Group A, and now have a mountain to climb.

All is not yet lost.

However, the Warriors' chances of recovery depend on how far ZIFA is prepared to travel to rectify what's ailing the national team, and to clean up its mess which culminated in the 'deportation' of the coach and the unfortunate appointment of co-coaches.

There is need for clarity in the technical department of the Warriors.

There is need for preparatory matches to help the chaoches to fine tune the team and get the combinations right. 

The above is a responsibility which noboby other than ZIFA can play.

The ball is in ZIFA's court. Great leaders rise to the occasion when chips are down. Now is the time for real leaders to raise their hands. ZIFA, are you listening? 



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