Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
THE first batch of the Warriors returned home from their tour of duty in Rwanda yesterday with coach Callisto Pasuwa saying some of the criticism they are getting was not justified.
Eighteen players and some members of the technical team arrived home yesterday while a smaller batch is expected this morning.
Pasuwa feels some of the criticism is wayward.
“It is true, considering the results that we got, that people are unhappy, but again, people should also consider where we are also coming from and where we are going,” said Pasuwa.
“Supporters should also understand that there are decisions to make, it would be very unfair to some of the youngsters, remember this team was assembled last year and most of the guys were Under-23 so we want to see progression of these youngsters.
“It was their first major tournament to play for the senior side and had they had some friendly matches it was going to be better for them but, again, we failed, we know that, and I am sorry about that.”
The gaffer said his inexperienced players were exposed at CHAN as they made a lot of elementary mistakes which cost them a quarter-final place.
“You can see it, maybe from the way we were conceding goals, some of the mistakes we were doing in terms of conceding, they were similar and again the chances we were missing,” said Pasuwa.
“We were missing so many chances and a team would come at us with one chance and bury their one chance and just like that we were out of the tournament.
“We should give the players time. Building a team is a process, other teams are given four years, from the Under-17s until they play in the senior team level, but for this team it was only a year and again people are crying for immediate results which is not fair to the boys.”
As for his future, the coach said his fate lies in the hands of the ZIFA board.
“As for myself I can’t say anything, I have got bosses who have to tell me whether I am going home or I am staying as the coach,” said Pasuwa.
“I can’t make a decision on my own. My bosses are the ones who have to make the decisions.
“No one goes to work to fail, everyone wants to win. Some people might not assess where we are coming from.”
The coach said there were also a lot of positives from the tournament.
“We should not open up spaces when playing international matches and we have to protect the centre-backs,” said the coach.
“We also learnt it is important to manage the tempo of the game, when to up it and variations like when to slow the tempo.
“When playing football you have to keep possession. We failed to defend set-pieces and conceded from such mistakes. We got many chances but wasted them and it cost us.”
Forwards Edmore Chirambadare and Ronald “Rooney” Chitiyo said they will now focus on the upcoming CAF inter-club assignments with their teams.
Chirambadare will link up with his Chicken Inn teammates next week when they return from Ndola in Zambia where they are playing in a four-team friendly tournament against Zambian and Tanzanian opposition.
“We tried but it wasn’t to be. It wasn’t our day to win and progress. If we managed to convert our chances we should not be here but luck was not on our side. Even me I failed to convert the chances I got.
“My club is doing its best, they are preparing hard playing friendly matches in Zambia and I am positive we will begin our campaign well,” said Chirambadare.
Chitiyo said he is already looking forward to the match against Madagascar opposition AS Adema on February 13.
“It is sad that we failed to progress but it was a good tournament. I think we lacked concentration as a team but in terms of football we were ahead but failed to convert chances.
“I learnt that a match is not over until it is over and also that nowadays there are no longer small and big teams.
“But in football what is important is that if you lose today, fight to win in the next game so I am now looking forward to playing and winning in our first match in the Confederation Cup,” said Chitiyo.