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GOVERNMENT has promised to chip in whenever possible to support the Warriors in their endeavours following a morale boosting 2-1 win over Malawi in their opening match of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers at the weekend.

Acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture, Paul Damasane, yesterday said the Warriors won many hearts with their gallant performance after putting their troubled preparations behind them and coming back with a victory.

Damasane was one of the top officials who welcomed the team on their arrival at the Harare International Airport yesterday.

Zimbabwe won courtesy of goals from Cuthbert Malajila and Khama Billiat while John Banda scored for Malawi.

“Well done to the Warriors. We want to say you have made us very proud. You have stood for the nation irrespective of certain vicissitudes that you met,” said Damasane.

“We want to congratulate your spirit. That is the spirit that builds the nation.

“And to all soccer lovers out there, we want to say the Ministry of Sport will continue to support sport because we see sport as the most important, cohesive and unifying factor in our time as a nation.

“So we are not going to let you fall by the wayside. That’s why we took all our strength to support Mr Pasuwa and his team, to support well-being and your travel to and from Malawi.

“When people see a good thing, they want to associate themselves with it. So continue doing good things. The reason why bees go to a flower is because the flower stays in bloom.

“So we are saying Warriors continue blooming so that the bees who are the supporters of sport in Zimbabwe, the corporates who are investors in sport and the Government which is the facilitator of sport in Zimbabwe will always be by your side.

“I repeat, continue blooming. This is, but a beginning, let it continue. Well done and congratulations.”

The Warriors were received at the airport by officials from the ministry, supporters, ZIFA board members, who included vice-chairman Omega Sibanda, Bernard Gwarada, John Phiri, Tavengwa Hara, Elizabeth Langa and chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze.

ZIFA president, Cuthbert Dube, was not present.

Sibanda promised that the ZIFA leadership will work hard to address the problems faced by the team last week so that they will not experience the same in the future.

Sibanda said the Warriors have made a positive start and are poised for success in the campaign.

“We know the hardships which you faced just before the match. I say it’s now water under the bridge. It’s being sorted. All is going to be well.

“It was a great result in Malawi. It’s one stride forward and we are going. Every journey starts with one stride and we have started. This time we need to go to the finals of AFCON,” said Sibanda.

The scorer of Zimbabwe’s opening goal, Malajila, said they did not expect to win in Malawi considering their shoddy preparations.

The Warriors only trained for two days before their departure and also had problems in the camp over financial guarantees leading to a boycott of their scheduled flight on Thursday.

Zimbabwe will now face Guinea in their next AFCON qualifier in September.

The Warriors share the lead in Group L with Swaziland who stunned Guinea 2-1 last Friday.

“If I have to tell you the truth, we wanted one point, but we got three, which is a plus. So we have to look forward now and take it from there,” said Malajila.

“We still have a long way. We are looking forward to hosting Guinea in September. We are playing at home which means we are looking forward to three points. That’s what we need to plan for.

“I think we need better preparations. We don’t want to come and train for one day and play a game.

“We have to give everything for the country and we also want the support from each and every Zimbabwean. Let’s all play our part,” said Malajila.

Source : The Herald

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