We have reasons to remain pessimistic
Humphrey Kwaramba Correspondent
I AM writing in response to the article “Prophets of doom: Why do we remain so pessimistic that our Warriors will fall short?” published in The Herald yesterday. The above question has a very simple answer. Because we have been beaten before and we are now twice shy.
It’s not like Zimbabweans are pessimists, by nature, not at all. Or you can call them prophets of doom, but definitely they are not.
Some of us have been supporting the Warriors since birth and we have lost count of the number of times our beloved Warriors have let us down when everything had been looking up.
On numerous occasions we have started our campaign very well, only to falter at the last hurdle and it has now come to a point where we almost accept that it’s meant to be. We now believe that we are just not good enough to compete against the best on the continent, that we are perennial also-rans.
This falling at the last hurdle has happened so many times, such that supporters have now lost belief in their team, so no matter how comfortable Zimbabwe might be sitting on the top of Group L, previous failures keep flooding back into the minds of our supporters,me included.
Who can really blame our supporters?
Let me give a prime example of what I am talking about when I say our beloved Warriors can really be a pain in the neck.
Who will ever forget this — we played Angola at Rufaro as qualification for the 2013 AFCON whose finals were to be held in South Africa. We walloped the Palancas Negras 3-1 that day and every soccer fan thought “South Africa, here we come.”
If anyone had suggested that day that we still had to go to Luanda and perform in order to confirm our qualification, he would have been labelled a prophet of doom like what’s happening now.
We were all drowned in the euphoria caused by that result and we forgot that the battle wasn’t yet won. It’s such naivety that has cost us big time in the past which must come to an end.
We all know what happened when we went to Angola. We were blown away by 2 goals to nil; (it was a brace from Manucho if my mind serves me well) and in the click of a finger,we were out of Afcon.
Now, if we can’t learn a thing from such past experiences, I don’t know what type of a people we are. I think I can say we are in the same situation right now.
Zimbabwe are three points clear after four matches have been played, two more to go.
Let’s not let our boys fall into this false sense of achievement as if they have done anything special up to now. Yes, we are on top of the log after Match Day 4,SO what?
Haven’t we been there before, but failed dismally to achieve the ultimate goal which is to qualify for AFCON? Being on top of the log means nothing, especially if we don’t end up in Gabon in 2017.
Call me a pessimist or prophet of doom, I will accept it, but I have followed the Warriors long enough to know the type of heartache they are capable of inflicting. Right now we look pretty comfortable perched on top of Group, L but it only takes a draw against the Flames in our next match for everything to go cock-a-hoop.
It can happen, I have seen it happen countless times. Has anyone thought what could have happened if that Sihlangu ‘goal’ wasn’t scored from an offside position? Everything could have gone pear-shaped with Swaziland bombarding us from all angles having gained confidence from that goal. So, instead of basking in the glory of being on top of Group L, let’s keep our eyes on the prize.
We haven’t qualified for Gabon 2017, so as it is, we have nothing really to celebrate.
Also nobody has any moral ground to label others prophets of doom or pessimists when all we are doing is alerting each other to the danger that lies ahead if we start behaving like we have already qualified for AFCON 2017.
It’s happened before so we have got every reason to be cautious when even it looks like we have done the harder part. Let’s temper our optimism with caution, these are the Warriors, they can please or disappoint in equal measure.
We all want them to do well but let’s not make them believe that it’s already done, because it’s not.
Teams with pedigree like Guinea do not bow out without a fight, mark my words! We could qualify on Match Day 5 if the gods smile upon us, but it could also go very wrong if we draw or even get beaten by Malawi.
All scenarios are possible, so let’s not only look at one possibility as if it’s a given that we will beat Malawi, who says? Basing everything on the fact that the Swazis are stubborn to beat at home would be really dangerous because, on their day,Guinea can beat them, especially now that they have got a lifeline after beating Malawi.
In conclusion,let me say that it’s a good feeling to be still in with a BIG chance of qualification when the likes of Nigeria and South Africa are already counting their losses. But that should not cloud our thinking and start behaving like we are already there,a lot still needs to be done.
Let’s prepare well so we do our part by beating Malawi, it would be so sad to lose to Malawi only for Swaziland to beat Guinea on the same weekend.
GO WARRIORS GO!