WE TOLD YOU SO, MR MUTASA Zifa Normalisation Committee chairman Lincoln Mutasa (left) and the organisations’ chief executive, Yvonne Mapika Manwa

Sharuko on Saturday

I’M not in South Africa this week, with the Warriors, and it’s something that I have become used to, especially at this stage of my career, as a journalist.

I wasn’t in Rwanda either, in November, when the Warriors returned to the big time after a lengthy period, on the sidelines, serving a FIFA suspension.

I wasn’t in Cameroon, for the 2021 AFCON finals, either.

My last adventure with the Warriors was at the 2019 AFCON finals, in Cairo, where we crashed at the first hurdle.

Given that I had been part of the Warriors’ adventures, across the continent, from ’93, a quarter-of-a-century national service, it’s probably fair that the time had come for me to step aside from the show.

 Over the years, a number of youngsters have come on board the train and it’s only fair, and natural, that they have taken over the baton.

After all, it’s the same baton that we also took over from our elders.

We took the baton from the likes of Sam Marisa, Allan Hlatshwayo, Assel Gwekwere, Ephraim Masiyiwa, Shaun Orange, Jahoor Omar, who is my greatest mentor, to name but a few.

Now, the likes of Tadious Manyepo, Langton Nyakwenda, Bruce Chikuni, Cuthbert Masango, Don Makanyanga, Takudzwa Chitsiga, Blessing Malinganiza have also come along and are taking over the baton from us.

Do I feel any regret that I’m no longer part of the bandwagon?

In a way, yes, that’s what nostalgia does, that’s what memories do to us and that’s what being a human being is all about.

But, it’s not something that haunts my mind a lot because I always knew the circus would one day move out of town and, just like everyone else, I would have to watch from a distance.

I praise God, all the time, for plucking me from the compounds of a gold mine in Chakari to taking me all over the world, doing something I really enjoyed.

And, when you realise that there are only a handful of African countries, which can be counted on one hand, which you didn’t visit, during those tours of duty, it’s fair to praise your Lord.

In Chakari we didn’t grow up dreaming of flying all over the world, meeting and interviewing some of the world’s greatest sports stars and covering some of the globe’s greatest sporting events.

But, I worry about the new crop of our football writers, especially when I consider the rough initiation they are undergoing, in terms of covering the Warriors’ international assignments, right now.

I feel for them because I don’t think it’s good for their initiation to be all about telling their readers all these negative tales about our Warriors staggering from one pathetic result to another.

All these sad stories about our Warriors having become so hopeless, so helpless, so reckless, so hapless, so directionless, so passionless, so defenceless, so harmless, so careless, so clueless, so headless, so lifeless, you name it.

This is a tough initiation for them.

It’s a tough job writing something you know the readers wouldn’t want to read about, like yesterday’s disastrous 0-2 result against Lesotho in Johannesburg, one of our all-time lows as a national team.

  WE TOLD YOU SO, MR LINCOLN

I have just noted that since 2020, a few months after my last major international assignment with the Warriors, at the 2019 AFCON finals, our national team has really been reduced to a proper punching bag.

The statistics make up for some grim reading – the Warriors have played 29 matches, including friendlies, since the start of 2020, they have won just TWO, drawn 12 and lost 15, including yesterday’s defeat.

Their two wins have come against Guinea, at the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon, and against Botswana, in a Nations Cup qualifier, in Francistown, when Perfect Chikwende scored the only goal of the match.

These are all the sad stories which our new generation of football writers have had to cover when it comes to our national team.

This is in sharp contrast to what some of us had to do because I came on board just as the Dream Team was taking off the runway on an adventure which would capture the imagination of our whole country.

It all started with that 2-1 win against Egypt at the National Sports Stadium in December ’92, with Christmas on the horizon.

And, by the time the dream ended, after that 1-3 defeat in Yaounde by the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, our boys had played, and we had covered, 16 matches, they had won NINE, drawn five and lost only two.

Those losses came in Conakry, against a Guinea side inspired by Titi Camara, who was so good he would be signed by Liverpool, and Cameroon in Yaounde, in that World Cup qualifying decider.

So, on the majority of occasions, the gospel we were spreading, about our Warriors, was a positive one and that made our work very easy when compared to our current generation of writers.

And, while we had a ZIFA administration, whose boss was intent on fighting Fabisch, it should be noted that, even for all their weaknesses, they understood football and how to manage this game.

The likes of Lazarus Mhurushomana were not perfect but they had gained a lot of experience and you can’t compare them to what we have today among the men and women who are dragging our national game, and the Warriors, to the burial ground.

For goodness sake, when a greenhorn like Kudzi Chitima emerges from nowhere and virtually takes over the game he even is given the role to be the fellow in charge of the Warriors in such an important tour of duty, you know the wheels have come off this doomed train.

A fellow like Kudzi Chitima should have learnt the ropes at a lower level of our football structures, something like managing the area zone clubs, instead of being parachuted from nowhere and being given the responsibility of being a key player at ZIFA level.

He is a bright young man but the reality is that he is not experienced enough to play the leadership roles that he has been playing and the results don’t lie.

I also hope Lincoln Mutasa has finally realised that when we criticise him, it’s not out of hate but out of hurt because his decisions, plucked from the Stone Age of football administration when fish used to fly, are sucking the little life that was remaining in our game.

He should know that you don’t appoint a coach, two weeks before a serious national assignment like a World Cup qualifier, and expect to get positive results from such an assignment.

And, to make it worse, you hand that responsibility, at such a short notice, to a rookie who has never coached a team, at such a high level, in his life before.

It’s not Jairos Tapera’s fault that he was thrown into the deep end because, just like everyone else, he wants to serve his nation and such challenges do not always come through.

It’s the fault of those who appointed him because they should have known that at this level of the game, there is no room for experiments and this was a very bad one by all sorts of imaginations.

The more Mutasa blunders the more I end up getting convinced that maybe the guy who is running our football today is not the same fellow who was running Dynamos in the ‘80s and walked away with his reputation intact and a profile good enough to get him a leadership role anywhere.

Sometimes I end up thinking maybe the guy we have today is just a clone of the man himself and it’s a very bad feeling to have.

When I was interviewed by Pathisani Sibanda and Tinashe Chikuse on Capitalk, a few weeks ago, I told them that there was no way you can have a kamikaze approach, like the one ZIFA had, and expect to win.

I told them that I didn’t expect us to win this match against Lesotho and any other match, including a friendly against Somalia, as long as these guys, who have transformed themselves into undertakers, remain in charge of ZIFA.

Some guys who listened to the interview called me later to say that I had been hard, if not negative, and I told them that usually, in this game, just like in life, it’s the truth that always sets you free.

Lincoln and Lesotho just tend to share the same initial and that’s where their similarities end. The former is reckless, as highlighted by the way he treated this massive national assignment, and the Crocodiles, and their leadership, know what they are doing.

To God Be The Glory!

Peace to the GEPA Chief, the Big Fish, George Norton, Daily Service, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and all the Chakariboys still in the struggle.

Come on Chegutu Pirates!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Zaireeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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You can also interact with me on the ZTV football programme, Game Plan, where I join the legendary Charles “CNN” Mabika on Wednesdays

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