By Innocent Kurira
The Warriors became the first side to be eliminated from the Chan finals in Cameroon after succumbing to an embarrassing 3-1 defeat to Burkina Faso on Wednesday evening.
Issouf Sosso put Burkina Faso into the lead after 14 minutes with a low shot that beat Zimbabwe goalkeeper Simbarashe Chinani.
The Warriors bounced back in the 23rd minute through a Patson Jaure strike.
Having survived an onslaught from Burkina Faso up to the half-time break, the Warriors crumbled in the second half, as Claver Tiendrebeogo grabbed the second for Burkina Faso.
Issiaka Quedraogo killed off the match as a contest late into the game.
Group A’s other match on Wednesday saw Cameroon and Mali playing to a 1-1 deadlock.
Both teams have four points after their victories in their opening matches last Saturday.
Burkina Faso will play Cameroon in their last group game on Sunday at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde, while Mali clash with Zimbabwe at the Japoma Stadium.
There is no denying that winning the competition was a bridge too far for the Warriors given the circumstances at play, but a lot could have been done better for the squad to put in spirited performances.
Even before the final whistle had blown, an inquest had already begun, as to why coach Zdravko logurusic took a wrong approach for the tournament.
Should the coach have had more trust in his assistants?
Or could it be we are just not good enough, but always rate ourselves highly.
All those are questions being asked by local football followers.
While some praised the coach for chipping and chopping the squad in the run-up to the competition, a section of football fans questioned the logic of the continuous changes to the squad, and the latter have been proved right.
The coach had enough time to work on tactics and strategy with the initial team, but that was not the case.
The time spent playing friendlies and changing the team could have been used by the coach to implement his philosophy.
Instead, he ended up travelling with a squad that relatively has no connection on the field of play.
As a result, the Warriors’ performances lacked any form of cohesion and evidently in the two games played, no one is sure what style of play or system the coach prefers.
The Warriors adopted a defensive approach in a must-win match.
A total of six changes to the team that was beaten by Cameroon in the first game further validates the fact that the coach does not know his players.
No trust in his assistants
One cannot blame the coach for that given we have had no football for over a year,but that is where the coach needed to trust his assistants that have a better knowledge of local players.
The assistants had played a big part with the initial squad and perhaps a little faith in those they had called up would have yielded better results.
Some pundits have even suggested that it was going to be better for the assistants who know the local players to be in charge at Chan, while the Croat plays an observer’s role.
Where to from here?
As has become the norm, there will be many questions about how the Warriors suffered an early exit, but little will be done to address the problem until the country qualifies for another edition and suffer the same fate.
While some countries have invested in proper football structures, with concentration on junior football, Zimbabwe has done nothing in that regard.
But we expect results without making proper investment into our football. The Chronicle