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Date: 24 November 2017

  Zimbabwean - Soccer

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Zim have just shot themselves in the foot

[Posted 06 Oct 2011]
[By Beezsports Editor]
Zim have just shot themselves in the foot

At last a player who understands what is to prepare for a big match like the final African Nations Cup qualifier against Cape Vede has spoke. Musona says that the Warriors could have done with better preparations and a bit more privacy at home.

Musona, the TSG 1899 Hoffenheim striker who flew to Praia from his base in Germany, has lamented the fact that the Warriors squad could not practice and worked on their tactics against Cape Verde away from prying eyes of their hosts' media.

The Hoffenheim striker, together with France-based Ovidy Karuru and Vusa Nyoni met in Lisbon Portugal and connected together to Praia where they had to spend the night alone in a country that badly needs a win as much as the Warriors do, at a time when the global sport is under immense threat from the scourge of match-fixing and attempts to influence outcomes of matches.

"I thought we should have had more time to train at home and just come in for the game, maybe arrive here on Friday to feel the pitch and go into battle the following day,” Musona said.

“It would have been good for our privacy in training and for team building.”

Zimbabwe travelled in two batches, with the rest of the squad only arriving in Praia on Thursday late morning. The travel arrangements meant Musona, Nyoni and Karuru arrived many hours earlier than the rest of the squad.

Being alone in a country that badly needs three points to proceed at the expense of Zimbabwe was always going to be a risky. The Liberia/Mali fixture has already been marred by match-fixing allegations.

With the benefit of hindishgt, ZIFA will realise that whatever the challenges they faced which forced to embark on chaotic travel arrangements could easily expose players to the very corrupting world of betting syndicates who want their teams to win at all costs.

Besides the threat of corruption, Musona has a point.

The Warriors have only one and a half days of training at best, assuming that everything goes well in Praia from Thursday, and their first training will be under the spying eyes of the Blue Sharks. 

Some privacy would have been better for preparing for such a tough assingment, and away from home. The Warriors are unfortunate in that ZIFA is currently cash-strapped.

While confidence appears to be on the rise in the local Premier Soccer League, the same cannot be said about the soccer mother body in the country. ZIFA will take time to shed off the image of corruption, maladmistration and unproffessionalism associated with the past board.

How can ZIFA prove to the corporate world that they have turned the conrer, when they cannot plan properly for a crucial qualifier like the one coming on Saturday, when they could only wait until the last minute to approach the government for financial assistance to book the tickets of players?

If there is anything which may cost the Warriors a place at the finals in January 2012, then it is not the players, or the coach.

The techincal team and players have demnostrated their commitment to the cause of the motherland. 

Time and time again the Zifa board appears to be the weakest link in our football. First, they bungled the coaching selection process which interrupted the team's preparations for the match against Cape Verde at home last year by appointing co-coaches for the tie, smothing unheard of till then.

Now, Zifa are at it again! The Warriors became the first team on the continent to break with tradition by not camping for a crucial match, preferring, or Zifa will argue, being forced to fly straight for the match in Praia without any preparations.

If the Warriors manage to qualify for the finals, it will be a miracle. In fact, it is totally unfair to expect the hardworking and terribly let-down players to qualify under these circumstances.

Lets be fair to the boys and the technical team. Our expectations have to be realistic. You can't win a pressure and tension filled match like the tie in Praia on Saturday when your preparations are shambolic.

Norman Mapeza and his troops remain defiantt under disempowering circumstances, but if the truth be told, Zimbabwe have shot themselves in the foot by failing to prepare, or to even do the minimum. As they say, if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail!

Its painful to face this truth, and it is even more painful when one considers the efforts and the sacrifices that individual people such as the players themselves, the technical and the Zifa president Cuthbert have invested to bring the team closer to qualification.

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