Warriors tumble ‘disastrous’

Eddie Chikamhi

Senior Sports Reporter

WARRIORS supporters have described the continued fall of the Zimbabwe senior football team on the FIFA rankings as disastrous, after the team fell just short of equalling their record-lowest position since the ranking system was introduced.

The latest statistics released by the world football governing body yesterday showed Zimbabwe are now ranked 129th globally and 38th in Africa.

Zimbabwe fell seven places down the global charts and were among the biggest losers on the continental rankings.

The latest ebb is indicative of the cumulative challenges facing the Warriors, which have continued even under the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee led by Lincoln Mutasa.

The rankings were released yesterday in the wake of the recent 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in South Africa, where Zimbabwe suffered deflating losses in two games against Lesotho and Bafana earlier this month.

The Warriors were humbled 2-0 by minnows Lesotho, in their home match played on foreign soil at the Orlando Stadium, before surrendering 1-3 to hosts South Africa a few days later in Bloemfontein.

According to the permutations conducted by FIFA after the two match days, the Warriors lost 2112 points, and in the process were overtaken by the likes of Sierra Leone (122), Malawi (125), Cyprus (126), Central Africa Republic (127), Niger (128) and war-torn Sudan who rose six places up to 121.

The latest ranking just came close to matching their worst global ranking of 131, which they experienced in 2016.

“The Warriors slumping to 129th in the world is disastrous and shows our standards in terms of international football continue to fall,” said Warriors super fan Chris Romario Musekiwa.

He said the rankings were just a reflection of the poor leadership and lack of planning. The Warriors have had five different coaches in under 12 months under the current Normalisation Committee.

The coaches have been appointed on an ad-hoc basis and currently, the team does not have a substantive coach, as they prepare to go to South Africa for the 2024 COSAFA tournament that kicks off next Wednesday in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth). By the time of going to print yesterday, the squad had not been announced ahead of today’s COSAFA deadline.

“We might have quality players playing in some of the top leagues and some talented young players but if we do not plan accordingly for international assignments we plan to fail and results will always be catastrophic.

“Just recently a caretaker coach was appointed, a week before key World Cup matches in South Africa The coach didn’t have time to play any friendly and assess all his players.

“Football does not lie, we performed dismally. Lesotho (ranked 149th) outplayed us because they have been together as a team for more than a month.

“We are imploring the ZIFA Normalisation Committee to appoint a substantive coach to take charge of the Warriors with immediate effect.

“We still have six more World Cup qualifying matches to play and if we can put our house in order we can expect better results in future international matches.

“The AFCON qualifiers will be starting soon. ZIFA should take the national team seriously and ensure the team is adequately prepared ahead of any international assignments,” said Musekiwa.

Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association secretary-general Joseph Mutawu echoed Musekiwa’s sentiments and added that the brand of Zimbabwean football is bound to suffer if the rankings slump goes unchecked, which will make it difficult to attract meaningful friendly matches.

“It’s a cause for concern. It means our football standards in the country are going down. The Warriors will not be able to attract friendly matches from big and competitive games,” he said.

“This will also affect our players in terms of selling them to other competitive leagues in the world.

“I would attribute this slump to poor preparations and poor funding of our national team, selfish and corrupt football Administrators of our game.

“But the major cause of all this was the Asiagate. Many people would want to conveniently sweep it under the carpet but it was the start of all our problems.

“That is when the Warriors are beaten by unknown teams.

“Our football rightly needs upright and patriotic administrators who are strong enough to weed all the vices in our football ecosystem.

“I would also suggest that we hire a reputable international coach who is incorruptible and is not easily swayed by money or otherwise.

“Another one is a symbiotic relationship between our football association and our government; we urgently need that. A lot of strong teams are heavily funded by their respective governments.

“In Zimbabwe, football administrators frustrate our Government’s efforts to help themselves from FIFA funds without scrutiny,” said Mutawu

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