|Musona needs support|
|Thursday, 14 June 2012 13:39|
Senior Sports Editor
THE World Cup storm is over and Zimbabwe football, which badly needs a ray of light to filter through the darkness created by the dark cloud hanging over its head, simply can’t afford another calamity on home soil on Sunday.
Broken hearts, shattered dreams, an ocean of tears, a coach puzzled by how it has all gone so horribly wrong and angry fans, wondering why it always have to be them who suffer all the time, combine to make up the wreckage of a 2014 World Cup campaign that lies in ruins.
Maputo was supposed to provide a redemption song for the Warriors but the stubborn Mambas refused to be buried in their backyard and battled for a stalemate that didn’t do either of the two contestants any good in a World Cup adventure that now look doomed.
That some traveling fans converted the Warriors hotel into an offshore shebeen, for a costly all-night drinking binge in Maputo on Sunday night at a time when they should have been reflecting on what now looks like Mission Impossible, tells the true story of where our football stands today.
And, when you throw in all the conspiracy theories, where even our talismanic forward Knowledge Musona has been dragged onto the minefield of the explosive football boardroom battles being fought in our game, it’s very clear that everything looks gloomy.
Warriors to find their way back into the loving arms of their fans.
That our World Cup show has been a nightmare isn’t in doubt but it’s also true that for a nation like ours, always ranked around the 100-mark on the globe, qualifying for a football festival that only opens its door to the best 31 nations and its hosts, would have been a bonus.
But a country that has failed to qualify for the last three Nations Cup finals, and which has just made two Nations Cup appearances in 32 years, should also keep its expectations within the realistic range rather than wander into the world of reality shows like Big Brother Stargame.
This, therefore, called for the creation of a conducive environment, in the week leading to the game against Burundi, where every possible avenue would be explored, to give the battle-weary Warriors the greatest possible chance of victory on Sunday.
Whatever differences that are there, between some of the fans and the coach who is in charge of the Warriors today, needed to be shelved — at least for this week — for the sake of finding the unity needed to destroy Burundi and keep the Nations Cup dream alive.
have killed if he was his teammate, needed to be shelved — at least for this week — for the sake of the oneness needed to silence Burundi.
Whatever differences that are there, between the media and those in charge of our football whose tenure of office has routinely been described as the worst by any Zifa board in history, needed to be shelved — at least for this week — for the sake of the focus needed to clear the Burundi hurdle.
But, sadly, that won’t be possible now and, just like in the opening World Cup qualifier where financial interests were thrust ahead of the importance of playing the game at Rufaro and brightening chances of reaping maximum points, it’s now all about mayhem.
Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze’s public announcement that Musona and Karuru were part of a shadowy match-fixing scheme in the two World Cup games against Guinea and Mozambique was as brutal, if not heartless, an accusation as can ever be made against a national team player.
He also dragged Karuru back into the dark pit, from where the Independent Ethics Committee had lifted him to give him a place in the sunshine, when they cleared him of any involvement in Asiagate just a few weeks ago.
Musona is in uncharted waters and, given his profile in Germany where he is the only young African player on a five-year contract in the Bundesliga, such accusations have a serious negative impact on his future.
To believe that Musona is a match-fixer, as Mashingaidze preached on Tuesday night, just doesn’t sound right given everything what the Smiling Assassin has given to his Warriors in his explosive and short international career.
Five goals in six competitive matches for the Warriors, failing only to score against Guinea and Mozambique, isn’t certainly the return of a man who can be accused as a match-fixer.
During the 2012 Nations Cup qualifiers, he made it his own personal show, scoring in every match that he played in for his country, but his goals, where he got very little support from others, couldn’t take his team across the line.
Even in these current 2013 Nations Cup qualifiers, Musona is the man who scored the one away goal that still gives the Warriors hope for the next round – arriving in Burundi just hours before the match, after being forced to fly around Europe, but still managing to get the priceless goal.
Musona and Karuru have a responsibility to themselves, their teammates and the fans not to be seen in the company of certain people, in a poisoned and volatile football environment like the one we have in this country, and Henrietta Rushwaya is one of those people.
But if Musona and Karuru are so wrong, just for being seen with Rushwaya, why didn’t Mashingaidze raise the same noise, and make similar allegations, when Henrietta posed for a photo shoot with Ndumiso Gumede, sitting side-by-side, ahead of the Benjani testimonial, a week before the game against Guinea?
Gumede, the second most powerful man in Zifa, was the chairman of the team that investigated Asiagate and compiled the report and if he could sit side-by-side with Rushwaya, just days before the 2014 World Cup qualifier against Guinea, why has it all turned sour that now it’s Musona or Karuru?
Judging by Mashingaidze’s strong language, does it also suggest that Gumede, by meeting Rushwaya, automatically plunged himself into a match-fixing web and therefore should be investigated and probably barred from the board meetings?
Has our football turned into Animal Farm where all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others?
Neither did the Italian Football Federation, who are regularly weighed down by match-fixing scandals, including one that exploded just before the Azzuri left for the 2012 Euro finals, accuse Balotelli of match-fixing, linked to his date with the Mafia bosses, when the striker missed that glorious chance against Spain this week.
After all, this is the same Italian national team whose training base in Florence, ahead of Euro 2012, was raided by police as part of a match-fixing scandal investigation, leading to the withdrawal from the squad of Zenit St Petersburg defender, Domenico Criscito, after he was questioned.
Musona is just 21 and holds a big key, in the future of the Warriors, than probably all the Zifa board members put together.
To destroy him today, for doing something that we dramatise as a crime by coating it with match-fixing innuendoes and using him as a sacrificial pawn in a fight between Zifa and Rushwaya, will be a heartless and shameless act. It’s sad, isn’t it, that the winnable game against Burundi has already been pushed into the background.