ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa has hailed the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for their intervention to address the issues that were weighing down on the people of this country.
The economic challenges have seen a marked reduction in the number of people who have been able to pay and watch football matches across the country in recent years. Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans took to the streets of Harare and other major urban centres on Saturday to show their support for the ZDF which last week intervened to bring sanity to a number of issues affecting the country.
Some even chose to be comical as they displayed banners calling for long-serving Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, to leave the English Premiership giants.
“We are watching developments in the political sector in the country with great interest as the people who are shareholders of any transformation in Zimbabwe,’’ Chiyangwa said in a statement.
“In order for the country to play its rightful role in the development and promotion of football on the continent, the resolution of the current political situation is pivotal.
“Every political development in the country has either progressive or retrogressive potential for the development and practice of football.
“We welcome the peaceful initiative that has been taken by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in addressing the deeply felt concerns of the people of Zimbabwe, for the establishment of a new dispensation that will cater for interests of all people of Zimbabwe.
“We look forward to a speedy resolution that will enable the sporting community in general and football in particular to make its meaningful contribution to national development.’’
Meanwhile, Wenger insisted he never doubted Arsenal would prove the critics wrong as his side’s controversial 2-0 win over Tottenham slowed their English Premiership soccer rivals’ bid for north London supremacy.
When Arsenal finished below Tottenham in the English Premier League for the first time in 22 years last season, frustrated Gunners fans stepped up their calls for Wenger to quit.
“We played with purpose, a desire to be efficient and good solidarity from the first minute. We produced an immense performance,” Wenger said.
“We were not as bad as people said after we lost to Man City.
“When you lose people jump to conclusions, but we don’t listen as much as you think to the national debate.
“We live in our own club and focus on what is important. We can only give our answer on the pitch.”
Asked if he felt a sense of vindication from the derby win after enduring so much abuse following heavy defeat at Liverpool and Manchester City, Wenger took the high road.
“I’m here to produce a quality performance for people who come and pay their money. That is my job,” he said.
“I have as well sometimes to live with opinions that are not right and exaggerated.
“Two weeks ago (at City) we conceded a goal that was not marginally off-side, it was a yard off-side, and nobody said a word.
“I’m 35 years in the job, I can predict what happens.”
Key to Arsenal’s impressive performance was a tenacity that has often eluded them in the past.
Even Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, two players’ whose commitment has been doubted as they look to leave when their contracts expire at the end of the season, delivered fired-up contributions. “I know Sanchez and Ozil well, when they go on the pitch they want to win,” Wenger said.
“I never questioned their commitment. When they have bad games people think of course it’s because of they want to go.
“They love the club, they love the team, but the quality of the contract has to be right and as well other top clubs are out there offering contracts.”
Tottenham’s latest flop in an away game at one of their top-six rivals punctured the optimism engendered by their recent victory over European champions Real Madrid and dented their title hopes. It was a frustrating afternoon for Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, who was furious with referee Mike Dean and his officials.
Pochettino felt Dean was wrong to award the free-kick that led to Shkodran Mustafi’s opener and claimed Alexandre Lacazette was offside in the build-up to Sanchez’s goal. — Sports Reporter-AFP.