Home » Sports » Chaos in Warriors Camp Sparks Outrage

THE chaos in the Warriors’ camp sparked outrage yesterday, with the domestic football family uniting in condemning the under-fire ZIFA leadership after another monumental boob crippled the 2017 Nations Cup campaign before a ball has even been kicked.

Zimbabwe get their 2017 AFCON campaign underway against Malawi in Blantyre on Saturday, but the chaotic manner in which the country’s football leadership has handled preparations for this crucial match has angered millions of the game’s fans and other stakeholders.

Until yesterday, Warriors coach Callisto Pasuwa didn’t have a contract and, after working without pay for nine months for the senior and junior national teams, he decided to withdraw his services on Monday.

That threw the Warriors’ preparations into disarray and the players — who were originally set to start camp on Monday — are now only expected to converge in Harare today while foreign-based stars like Nyasha Mushekwi have been asked to fly directly to Malawi.

The Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture secured accommodation for the Warriors’ camp, while a company weighed in with their allowances and the senior national team is now scheduled to leave for Blantyre tomorrow.

But, after the chaos of the first two days, there was outrage within the domestic football family with many calling for ZIFA president, Cuthbert Dube, and his board to quit and let fresh faces take over the management of the game.

Already, the Warriors remain banned from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and despite assurances from the ZIFA officials, nothing has been resolved in this impasse that was sparked by the game’s leaders to pay former national team coach, Valinhos, his dues.

Two other former coaches, Tom Saintfiet and Ian Gorowa, are also owed substantial amounts in unpaid dues while Pasuwa, who took over from Gorowa, has only been paid $100 in the nine months that he has been working either for the Young Warriors or the senior national team.

Pasuwa was also part of Gorowa’s backroom staff and was not paid his dues during that time.

Former ZIFA board member Nigel Munyati yesterday said the association has failed the nation by their continued blundering and Zimbabwe risk sinking into extinction as a football nation.

“To me, this is quite tragic. It’s a very sad situation, one that I had never imagined we could find ourselves in as a nation. The players deserve better, the fans deserve better, the nation deserves better,” said Munyati.

“This is almost criminal and ZIFA should be held accountable even if these guys come back with a result.

“They talk of lack of resources, of course no one wants to associate with their brand because it is tainted. We need to do something quickly to clean up the image.

“Everything is in a mess, from the junior teams, women football and to the senior national team. The future is bleak and it doesn’t promise anything positive as long as the current ZIFA board is in place.”

Former Warriors winger Alois Bunjira said this AFCON campaign was now doomed from the word go.

“It’s unheard of anywhere in the world that a team is playing on Saturday and by Tuesday the players don’t even know if they will be part of the team or not. I have never experienced this, even during my days as a national team player from the Under-17s up to the senior team,” said Bunjira.

“Mind you, this is the AFCON tournament we are talking about and it’s the second most important tournament after the World Cup, of course, in terms of African football. Yet our approach doesn’t show the seriousness.

“Right now some of these players are off-season and they are on holiday. No one knows what they are drinking or what they are eating. Some of them could be taking alcohol and foods that can affect performance. So it means such players will not be conditioned for a game of football.

“Again, there was no time for camping which is essential for bonding, building combinations and team spirit. So it means these guys are going there just like a social soccer side, boozers. If they can come back with a result, I won’t give either ZIFA or the coach a pat the back, I will give the pat on the back to the players.”

The former Zimbabwe international said ZIFA had effectively destroyed the zeal among the players to represent their country with pride.

“Remember we used to have players who would use their personal resources to fly into the country just to wear that Warriors jersey.

“It used to be a joy and pride to play for Zimbabwe but these days most of these young players seem not interested and they have to be begged time and again to come to represent their mother country. Why? ZIFA has killed the appetite.

“The zeal is gone and it’s now about who is available or the fear of being labelled unpatriotic which drives some of the players to come,” said Bunjira.

Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association leader, Eddie Chivero, called on Dube and his Board to be fired, irrespective of the consequences.

“When Cuthbert Dube, Jonathan Mashingaidze and their crew were leaving for Zurich, recently, to vote in the FIFA elections, everything was in order, their visas had long been sorted and their accommodation was well in order, including their flights,” said Chivero.

“It means that our football leaders had taken time to sort out their travel but when it comes to the Warriors, the very same people who are supposed to provide leadership, don’t care about planning, about preparations and just want to do things at the last minute because the team is not important to them.

“These people have no shame and if they had any respect for this nation they would have long stepped down, for the sake of our football, but since they want to enjoy the benefits of going to places like Zurich and getting allowances and sleeping in five-star hotels, they are just clinging on to their positions while the game is dying.

“The Under-17s, the Under-20s are nowhere to be seen and now they have targeted the national team and they want to destroy it and it’s sad that, as a nation, we are just watching while these people are destroying these institutions that mean so much for us as a people.

“Maybe Dube doesn’t read the local newspapers, listen to local radio or watch local TV, to see that where we are now is just unacceptable, and I think we need as fans to just march to his house and demonstrate that he leave our game because he is destroying it.”

ZNSSA spokesperson, Paddington Japajapa, said ZIFA were sabotaging the Warriors.

“I have not seen such high level incompetence since 1980. By failing to deliver for the Warriors, they have demonstrated that they are no longer interested in football affairs of this country because the national team is the core business of any football association,” said Japajapa.

“What it means now is, we are in a serious crisis. These people are sabotaging the nation and they must be stopped.

“I think the Councillors should do the country a big favour by recalling this board when they hold their Emergency Meeting later this month.

“If ever there was a time when ZIFA have failed to manage their affairs, this should rank as the worst. Nothing worse can happen to our game than failing the Warriors.

The Sunday Mail Sports Editor, Makomborero Mutimukulu, said the entire ZIFA Board should go.

“Cuthbert Dube must go? Fair and fine. What about the other lot? They seem pretty useless to me. Everyone should vacate and we start anew,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

“The Warriors are the reason why the people at ZIFA are in office and if they cannot deliver on that then they have no business being there,” said Japajapa.

Football fans also expressed outrage on social media sites with most of them calling for Dube to step down.

However, ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said the association’s efforts are being weighed down by lack of financial resources.

Gwesela said they delayed naming the team because the negotiations with the coach, Pasuwa, took longer than had been expected.

“Football is a business and you can’t run a business without money. If we had money, we could have had a longer camp, we could have had by now paid the coach all his dues in full and we could have invited all those foreign-based players to play but unfortunately we don’t have enough resources.

“What is happening in football is a microcosm of the macrocosm. It is a reflection of what is happening in the economy. We have written to several companies and they have told us they have no capacity to fund the national team hence we find ourselves in such painful predicament,” said Gwesela.

Source : The Herald