By Mukudzei Chingwere
Former Warriors star, Joel Luphahla, has backed the current crop to do well if they remain focused and dedicated to serving the nation.
He believes the presence of talismanic skipper, Knowledge Musona, who has a very good record in team colours, makes them a force capable of beating anyone on the continent.
Luphahla was part of the Warriors who featured at the 2004 Afcon finals where the team made its bow at this level of the game.
He implored the current crop not to be driven by the desire to make big money but to serve their country.
“Playing for the national team is about the pride of being a Zimbabwean, of course, I understand you cannot play for nothing but for the national team’s pride comes first and remuneration second.
“They might be a backlash because of this money issue, I am not saying during our time there were no strikes, but I am appealing to the boys that when it is time for the national team, it is about pride.
“If I go to Harare or even Binga people recognise me because I played for the national team, these days the players will tell you that we do not eat reputation and fame but I feel players must get money from their respective clubs not the national team,” he said.
Now the head coach at second-tier side TelOne, the former speedster said it was unfortunate coach Sunday Chidzambwa was working with a weakened squad following the mass withdrawal of stars he initially called for duty.
“As a coach it disrupts plans that some of the players you had called will not be available,’’ said Luphahla.
‘’But he can go and win, as long as Musona is there.
“To compare the current crop with our generation is a bit unfair, the focus then is different from the focus now.
“I have so much belief in these boys, talking of the likes of Musona, Khama Billiat, Rusikes, Ndoro as well.
“I think they can qualify for Afcon, they have a very good team and some of these boys play for big clubs, they just need to be focused and have the desire to qualify.
“These boys can surpass what we did in 2004 and 2006 as well as surpass what (Callisto) Pasuwa did with the team in 2017.’’
Chidzambwa said his men remain competitive despite the absence of some of their best players.
“Obviously, one would have wanted to have all the best players available but injuries do happen in football and we have to work with those available.
“Those who are (here) are also very good players and they have the quality to do well for the team,” said Chidzambwa. Chronicle