By Blessing Vava
The dismal performance by the senior national soccer team, the warriors can only be described as a national disaster. Without doubt football is the most popular sport in this country and many Zimbabweans love the sport to unimaginable proportions but it is sad how their national soccer team always break their hearts.
Years ago former coach Ghanaian national Ben Koufie declared that Zimbabwe’s soccer team will never qualify for any prestigious tournament even if they get a coach from the moon, and according to him it was purely on the basis of maladministration by those running the affairs of soccer in the country.
And now with a new president Cuthbert Dube, who bought himself to be at the helm, our standards of soccer continue deteriorating reducing the senior men’s team into a laughing stock. The man is running an important national football association as if he is running his rural tuck-shop or a village grinding mill.
After failing to grab a victory in three consecutive serious games.
After the poor showing in Burundi, we even suffered in our own backyard playing against Guinea and the latest being the draw away to Mozambique, ZIFA is now unashamedly shifting the blame to the players making flimsy, unfounded and stupid allegations that matches were being fixed.
Those peddling such allegations can only qualify to be best candidates to a psychiatric clinic for a brain assessment. It is insanity of the highest magnitude to believe such a lie. The point here is that Mr Cuthbert Dube and his team have failed the nation they should admit and stop this blame game to Karuru and Musona.
Surely how possible for a player like Musona with a lucrative offer in Germany would accept the little bribes ZIFA is alleging?
With Asiagate scandal hard on our heels I don’t think there is any right-minded player, more importantly Musona and Karuru who are plying their trades in lucrative European leagues would want to risk their careers for such expediency as alleged by Mashingaidze and crew.
I laughed off seeing ZIFA CEO Jonathan Mashingaidze trying to convince Zimbabweans on ZTV news that they have approached FIFA because they suspect that the matches were fixed. Utter hogwash!
From his body movements and lips Mashingaidze was not convincing even to himself, he appeared like a man caught sleeping with someone’s wife and yet trying to deny that he doesn’t know the woman.
Either the guy is lying to the marrow, or every other Zimbabwean expect himself knows why the team that is so rich in talent is failing even against lowly rated teams such as Mozambique. What Mashingaidze is saying is utter rubbish and nonsense and should be dismissed with contempt.
I wonder why such people are put at the helm of such important offices. From the look of things one can easily deduce that ZIFA is out to settle personal scores rather than the development of our football. The match fixing allegations are a mere smokescreen to cover their failures as an association.
They are failing to attract a meaningful sponsor for the national team. They have failed even to get an official sponsor for the kit of the national team. They are even failing to organise friendly matches with stronger opponents opting to pair the national team with a club like Caps United and boozers (Friends of Benjani) as a preparatory match ahead of crucial ties.
How they keep recycling failed coaches to continue leading our national team. Surely how do we expect our football to grow when ZIFA is failing to do the basics that will make our team more dignified, stronger and mould them into a serious competitive team in the continent and the world at large.
Instead of investigating the alleged bribery scandal, it is high time that ZIFA investigate their role in the failure of the warriors. Shocking to note I had a chat with one of the players in question who expressed ignorance on the said allegations by Mashingaidze, that they are only hearing it from the media.
Shockingly and suspiciously ZIFA had not formally engaged the players notifying them about the allegations. It even makes the case more dubious and suspicious on why they rushed to the press before first informing the players as is the norm. I would advice young Karuru and Musona to sue these guys for defamation.
So does it mean any soccer player who speaks to Henrietta is involved in match fixing? These are low levels of desperation by failed administrators who are eager to destroy promising careers. Funny Mashingaidze boasts of having a ‘security’ team monitoring players when they are failing to pay allowances for players.
The time is now for former football players to get organised lead such bodies like ZIFA and the PSL, because they know what is required in football. Zambia have soccer legend Kalusha Bwalya at the helm and they have already reaped the results.
I believe people like former Caps United ace Alois Bunjira, Ian Gorowa, Edzai Kasinauyo, Bruce Grobeler, Tauya Murehwa, Paul Gundani, Peter Ndlovu, Benjani Mwaruwari can manage that association better because they have played the game before. We have tried these professionals and the results are proving beyond doubt to be disastrous.
For now we should try former footballers and see how it goes. The people who are running ZIFA are opportunists who don’t have a passion for the game but the pocket and the sooner that they are shown the door the better.
Otherwise we will continue weeping and our hearts bleeding spending another decade without qualifying for any major tournament with the way things are going at the moment. The Benjani testimonial is a clear example of how corrupt and greedy these so-called administrators can be.
Had it that we had a responsible government surely this was the right time to intervene as a matter of urgency to save our football from the doldrums of chaos. We need a new culture, a new system and a new people at number 53 Livingstone Avenue to run the affairs of our football Dube and team have failed. Zvazviri!
Blessing ‘Vuvuzela’ Vava writes from Chipinge