ZIFA urged to prepare on time
Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
ZIFA have been called upon not to mess around with the Warriors’ preparations and travelling arrangements for their CHAN qualifier return match against the Comoros in two weeks time.
Following yesterday’s 2-0 victory over the Indian Ocean islanders at Rufaro, which means the Warriors will have a relatively easier task when they travel to the Comoros in a fortnight, the Deputy Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Tabeth Kanengoni-Malinga, who watched the match in the company of her husband and kids, said she hopes there won’t be any problems in securing the team’s airfares for the return match.
ZIFA are still smarting from an embarrassing situation which saw the national team arriving a few hours before an African Cup of Nations match against Malawi in Blantyre last weekend.
The chaos continued last week when the team regrouped for camp late and only started training on Thursday, the same time that the visitors from Comoros had arrived in the country.
The team only managed to train for two days before facing the Comoros at Rufaro yesterday.
And there are now concerns from the fans that with coach Callisto Pasuwa continuing to grind results amid the confusion and ill-preparations, ZIFA will rest on their laurels and expect miracles on match day.
There are also fears that ZIFA, who struggled to raise money for fuel and provide a bus for the Blantyre trip, may be found wanting as they prepare for the Warriors’ airfares to the Indian Ocean island nation.
But yesterday Kanengoni-Malinga said the country’s soccer mother body should learn from mistakes and plan in time for the important match which if the Warriors win or draw will progress to the next round where they will meet either Botswana or Lesotho.
Zimbabwe can also afford to lose 1-0 in Comoros and still advance to the final qualifying round.
“We are not anticipating that they will repeat the same things that happened in Malawi.
“We are hoping that people learnt from their experiences and get better prepared as situations arise. So we are hoping that ZIFA have this under control,” she said.
Kanengoni-Malinga said Pasuwa has assembled a very good team which has shown a lot potential and it would be a tragedy if this generation of players is messed up and fails to qualify for CHAN finals to be held in Rwanda early next year.
She added that her ministry is prepared to chip in as they did during the previous Nations Cup match against Malawi but everything has to be co-ordinated well in advance.
“The boys are playing so well that we can’t disappoint them, something just has to give.
“We are not expecting them (ZIFA) to repeat what happened with the Malawi situation.
“But obviously if there are any problems, we also expect them to come to us on time so that if they need our assistance we can have ample time to prepare and the guys can camp with adequate time and adequate facilities.
“I think today the game went on very well. The boys played well in defence, we missed a couple of scoring opportunities and if we had buried them, we could have been able to win by a 5-0 scoreline. I am very very excited about the result,” she said.
Footballers Union of Zimbabwe president Desmond Maringwa also hailed the team and warned that they have to guard against complacency going into the second leg.
“It was a very good victory for the guys. It was a welcoming development for our first step towards qualification for CHAN.
“They are a good side and can improve from here.
“A 2-0 victory looks like a healthy one, but they shouldn’t get over excited about the victory, any team in Africa now is preparing very well, you have seen how they performed (Comoros).
“It is a small nation in terms of football but they have made strides and can cause a shocker but we have to be very careful and concentrating on our game planning and how we will react to the game that is coming,” said Maringwa.