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Date: 24 July 2017

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Warriors' failure to qualify not surprising

[Posted 10 Oct 2011]
[By Beezsports Editor]
Warriors" failure to qualify not surprising

When Beezsports advised the nation of Zimbabwe to adjust their dreams and hopes of qualifying for the Africa Nations of Cup 2012 finals, some fanatic supporters of the Zimbabwe national soccer team must have dismissed the website as doomsayers or prophets of doom bent on casting a bad spell on the nation.

The events in Praia, Cape Verde on Saturday afternoon somehow, and painfully so, vindicated the prediction of Beezsports that the Warriors' shambolic preparations for a tie as crucial as the final qualifier would result in the team failing to make the Afcon cut.

Our Warriors' lack of match fitness showed in the first 15 minutes of the match in which captain Method Mwanjali and his troops were a ball of nerves, with the captain needlessly giving away passes which resulted in a 2-0 lead by the hosts in the opening 13 minutes.

Though the Warriors dominated their hosts in more than an hour of the rest of the match, the combinations failed to click where it mattered most, and in the end , the promising Zimbabweans bowed of the Afcon out after falling 2-1 to the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde.

Is captain Mwanjali or any of the players or even coach Norman Mapeza to blame for their forgettable first half show in Praia? A big NO!

Sports is a game that requires not only confidence in one's abilities on the field of play. Its a sport that demands a combination of a well-planned strategy, a well thought-out, well rehearsed and well executed strategy.

Those four ingredients of a successful strategy were clearly absent before and during the the Warriors' crucial match against Cape Verde on Saturday.

Are the Blue Sharks invincible in their own backyard, or did they prove to be so against our Warriors in terms of their display?

The simple answer is NOT AT ALL!

Cape Verde boys were beneficiaries of the benevolence of the Zimbabwe Football Association who sent the Warriors into a crucial battle unprepared for the rigours of the battle ahead, and as such, presented the boys as sheep for the slaughter.

And the Blue Sharks were only grateful to the ZIFA offer, slaughtered the Warriors in that heat of about 40 degrees celcius on Saturday afternoon, and the Blue Sharks gladly enjoyed the victory presented to them in a silver platter.

Where on earth has anyone heard of a strategy that involves holding one's first training session in a foreign land, and with less than two days of training time, and still expect to overrun a team that has not lost a match at home in the entire Afcon campaign?

That is something called day-dreaming, if not senseless arrogance.

ZIFA and even the technical team head coach Mapeza, were speaking of victory, and appeared to waste time and energy worrying about the gossip emanating from the Liberian newspapers about the possibility of match-fixing in the Liberia/Mali tie.

Mapeza was so drunk with confidence that he declared that what was uppermost in his mind was returning home to celebrate qualification. His only concern was the possibility of  lack of fair play by Liberia and Mali.

The Warriors coach appeared little affected by the poor training of his boys and the chaotic travel arrangements of his squad. Whether he was overly concerned about keeping his job than facing the truth that an unprepared team will lack confidence especially in the enemy camp.

Whatever happened to the understanding that practice makes a strategy perfect? Whatever happened to a former professional's expected understanding of the need that his team needed a team building and bonding camp to better prepare for a crucial tie were there odds at stake?

Did an experienced professional like Mapeza need a boy of Knowledge Musona's age to point the abvious, that there was something wrong in going into in th enemy's camp and try to expose your strategy during practice?

One can forgive Mapeza for the mere fact that he does not make decisions about the team's welfare  and the power is out of his hands. Maybe Zifa should take total responsibility for this.

Indeed Zimbabwe were their own worst enemies on Saturday. No individual player is to blame for the loss to Cape Verde. Not even the coach is to blame for that defeat which has condemned the Warriors to yet another agony of missing on qualification.

It is even cold comfort to always heap the blame of what should have been that did not happen according to plan in the Warriors' previous matches in Group A .

Mistakes were made when Zimbabwe's FA sent the Warriors into battle agtainst the same Cape Cerde in October last year with co-coaches, something u heard of in international football. There was somehow an acknowledgement within ZIFA that their shenanigans then cost the team two precious points against a team known to be terrible travellers.

During October 2010, the Warriors lost two days of training due to the confusion in the technical team, and went into the match poorly prepared mentally and in terms of match fitness.

For ZIFA to repeat the same error through poor planning is simply inexcusable.

The truth of the matter is that defeat is what ZIFA had applied for, and they got the result of their application. But all is not lost for the Warriors squad that has shown a lot of promise in the recent months.

So where do we go from here?

Read the next article on the Beezsports.com for a proposed wayforward for the Zimbabwe senior national soccer team.  

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