EDITORIAL COMMENT: Warriors, Chigova have done us proud
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa’s lavish praise for Warriors goalkeeper George Chigova for his stunning heroics at the COSAFA Cup currently underway in South Africa shows the importance that football, in particular, and sport in general, has for the people of this country.
When our sportspersons succeed, especially on the occasions when they are wearing our national colours, they bring about a sense of pride for all of us despite our differences as a nation based on racial, tribal, religious or political lines.
We all feel a sense of entitlement to that moment of glory; it triggers an explosion of emotions inside our bodies. We love to be associated with winners and we all celebrate that fine hour of triumph because they are representing our country.
We bask in the glory of their achievements because we know that their success helps, in more ways than one, to have our beloved country being spoken of, around the world, in a good and positive light.
That is why we are charmed by what our Warriors have been doing in their fight to add another COSAFA Cup to their already impressive collection.
Today, in Polokwane, our boys plunge into another battle against our biggest rivals – Zambia – in the final of the tournament in a repeat of last year’s titanic battle for the regional silverware that produced four goals with our Warriors winning the game 3-1 in Rustenberg.
This year’s success story has been built around a solid defensive show, in which the Warriors have only conceded once in normal play, while goalkeeper Chigova has been the star of the campaign with his incredible performance between the posts.
He joined a small elite group of goalkeepers around the world who have managed to save three successive penalty kicks in a shootout when we eliminated Botswana in the quarter-finals on Sunday before he continued his dream run with two successive saves from the lottery against Lesotho in the semi-finals.
It’s rare for a goalkeeper to save three penalties in a shootout in a game of football, and that is why there is a small group of players who have achieved such a feat. And it’s even unprecedented for one to save five successive spot kicks the way Chigova has done at this tournament.
We are happy that President Mnangagwa has keenly been following the Warriors adventure in South Africa and he showed he really cares for what builds this nation by praising Chigova for his heroics.
“As we currently debate which candidate has the safest hands for Zimbabwe, we can all agree the answer is without a doubt George Chigova, the Warriors heroic goalkeeper who has saved FIVE penalties this week to get the Warriors into the COSAFA Cup final,’’ the President tweeted yesterday and attached a picture of the ‘keeper celebrating his feat.
Such a powerful and inspirational message from the country’s number one citizen has the power to inspire, not only Chigova, but all the players representing us at this COSAFA Cup because they know that the whole country is firmly behind them.
They know when they see the President praising them for their spirited efforts, that we are all singing in their corner and it has the potential of inspiring them to do even better when they take on the Zambians in the final today.
It’s good that football, our number one sport, is delivering on the field and uniting the people at a time when politics could be dividing them as we negotiate this season of elections.
As we celebrate what the Warriors have done so far, and hope for the best for them today, we should not forget that the Mighty Warriors, too, deserve to be applauded for the way they have gone about their adventure at the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations.
They take on Zambia at Rufaro tomorrow in the final game of their qualifiers for the finals of this important tournament carrying a big advantage after they edged their rivals 1-0 in the first leg in Lusaka last Wednesday.
They deserve our support and we encourage football fans to go to Rufaro in their thousands to support the Mighty Warriors and create a cauldron that will make it impossible for the Zambians to make a comeback in this showdown.
We also need to thank the ZIFA leadership, because the success of the national teams shows that our game is in good hands, for the way they have kept their eyes on the ball despite attacks from the usual noisemakers whose only agenda is to usurp power.
Ironically, the same people who have been making so much noise questioning the legitimacy of the ZIFA leadership have gone into hiding now, because you will never see them when there are responsibilities, like taking care of the national teams.
They are a desperate lot and it’s good that even FIFA have decided to ignore their theatrics.