Home » Sports » Warriors Chaos Ends

LIFE is set to return to normal in the Warriors camp this morning after Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Andrew Langa personally intervened yesterday to diffuse the impasse between ZIFA and national team coach Callisto Pasuwa ahead of Zimbabwe’s opening 2017 African Cup of Nations tie against Malawi.

The Warriors are now expected to fly out to Blantyre tomorrow for a Group L assignment against the Flames at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday.

The match is set to be screened live on SuperSport 3.

But a storm in the Warriors’ camp, sparked by ZIFA’s continued failure to honour their financial obligations to Pasuwa and avail resources for the national team’s training, had threatened to scupper Zimbabwe’s participation in the opening weekend of the Nations Cup qualifiers across the continent.

Stung by the fresh crisis to hit the country’s biggest sport, Langa yesterday summoned ZIFA and Sport and Recreation Commission officials demanding answers before the minister later spoke to Pasuwa and persuaded him to resume his duties, while ordering the association to meet their side of the bargain and cater for his welfare.

Langa said although it was not a secret that there were financial challenges in the country, the nation could not afford to miss out on the Nations Cup qualification campaign.

The national rugby team, in contrast, have managed to assemble their team which is set to take on Kenya at the weekend, showing that, with the right people in leadership positions, it’s normal to get together players to represent their country.

The Minister, who once again implored the fractious ZIFA board to put aside their differences and unite for the sake of the Warriors, revealed that “frantic efforts are being made to ensure the team flies to Malawi and plays that very important game’.

“We have a serious problem in ZIFA’s organisation and I have warned them that if you play with national teams, you are playing with people’s minds. For us to know that there is no national team with four days to go before a match does not augur well and I am really disappointed with the board.

“While everyone knows that we have some problems, in terms of finances as a country, it does not call for us as a nation to fail to fly the national team to Malawi. After meeting with ZIFA and SRC I have been assured that the team will fly out on Thursday and we are making frantic efforts to ensure that they indeed travel.

“If the ZIFA board put their heads together I don’t think they would fail to run the national team but divisions in the board are not helping anyone.

“I have had to personally engage Pasuwa and persuade him. I also want to thank Pasuwa for his

patience, especially when you consider that he has not been paid for nine months, and I want to urge ZIFA to urgently consider the welfare of the coach.

“Pasuwa told me how he has been trying to get hold of ZIFA officials since they returned from Swaziland and the challenges his technical team and squad have been facing . . . I can’t understand why those at ZIFA did not take his calls.

“But I repeat ZIFA should not play with people’s emotions. After Malawi it is Comoros in the CHAN after that then it is against South Africa for the Under-23 and the Women will face Cote d’Ivoire and I think we need to treat the whole programme with the seriousness that it deserves.

“I am meeting with ZIFA again tomorrow to follow-up on the Warriors issue,” Langa said.

Langa also urged the players and Zimbabweans in general to now shift their attention to ensuring the Warriors grind a result at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday.

“My message to all the players who will be selected is that let us go to Malawi together as a team and raise our national flag. I would like to see all the foreign-based that are in the country assembling for this trip,” said Langa.

With the impasse having been diffused, Pasuwa later released a side that is a blend of youth and experience with the former Dynamos coach also rewarding some of the players who have excelled in the Young Warriors colours.

National Under-23 goalkeepers, Tatenda Mukuruva and Donovan Bernard, have been elevated to the senior side together with defenders Blessing Moyo, Ronald Pfumbidzai and Teenage Hadebe.

There are places, too, for Young Warriors skipper Wisdom Mutasa and Tsholotsho’s Gerald Takwara.

But the squad is not short on experience and fire power upfront with Pasuwa including in-form Nyasha Mushekwi, who has been an instant hit in the Swedish top-flight where he is turning out for Djurgadens IF.

There were still doubts, however, over Mushekwi’s availability amid indications yesterday that he had picked a calf muscle strain when scoring his 11th goal inside two months for his new club and the extent of the injury was still being assessed.

Pasuwa also included seasoned Mamelodi Sundowns forward Cuthbert Malajila, Kaizer Chiefs’ Mathew Rusike and Knowledge Musona, who is now plying his trade with Belgian outfit KV Oostende in an attack that could fire the Warriors to flying start in Blantyre.

The unassuming coach also brought in the central defensive pair of Partson Jaure and Eric Chipeta who had a good CHAN tournament to steady the youthful rearguard.

Pasuwa is not short of talent either in midfield where he has called on the skills of Marvelous Nakamba who plays for Vitesse in the Netherlands, the Mamelodi Sundowns pair of Khama Billiat and Kuda Mahachi, the grit of Kaizer Chiefs man Willard Katsande and Chicken Inn skipper Danny Phiri and the enthusiasm of Gerald Takwara of Premiership newboys Tsholotsho.

While the Warriors were still to put their house in order on Monday night, the Flames were in Alexandria in Egypt for a friendly match against the Pharaohs which the Malawians lost 2-1.

Flames coach Young Chimodzi has kept the bulk of the side that featured at the COSAFA Cup in South Africa two weeks ago but added former CAPS United winger Joseph Kamwendo, forward Atusaye Nyondo, Polokwane City striker Esau Kanyenda, defender Harry Nyirenda and goalkeeper Richard Chipuwa to bring experience to his side.

Warriors squad

Goalkeepers: Tatenda Mukuruva (Dynamos), Donovan Bernard (How Mine)

Defenders: Blessing Moyo (Dynamos), Ronald Pfumbidzai (CAPS United), Justice Jangano (Gunners), Teenage Hadebe (Highlanders), Partson Jaure (University of Pretoria, South Africa), Eric Chipeta (Chippa United, South Africa)

Midfielders: Willard Katsande (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa), Wisdom Mutasa (FC Platinum), Kuda Mahachi and Khama Billiat (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Danny Phiri (Chicken Inn), Gerald Takwara (Tsholotsho), Marvelous Nakamba (Vitesse, Netherlands)

Strikers: Nyasha Mushekwi, (Djugardens IF, Sweden), Cuthbert Malajila, (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Mathew Rusike (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa), Knowledge Musona (KV Oostende, Belgium)

Source : The Herald