COMMENT: Warriors face must-win tie against Bafana Bafana

09 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
COMMENT: Warriors face must-win tie against Bafana Bafana

The Sunday News

THE Warriors hit another low on Friday, losing 2-0 to Lesotho in a Group C World Cup qualifier played at Orlando Stadium, Soweto in Johannesburg.

It was only the second time that the Warriors lost to the side in 23 matches and this should be a cause for concern.

Zimbabwe was able to field players plying their club careers in higher profile leagues than their opponents and Lesotho going into the match looked like a team out for another loss.

Inept defending by Teenage Hadebe and central defence mate Gerald Takwara and a bad first-half by the best goalkeeper in the land, Donovan Bernard was enough to take the winners to the top of the group.

With that result, Zimbabwe found themselves tail-enders and now face an insurmountable task when they face South Africa in Bloemfontein on Tuesday.

It is a must-win match if the boys are to redeem themselves and get into contention for the sole ticket to the 2026 World Cup.

There is no time to rest for the Warriors as they moved to Bloemfontein yesterday to train today and tomorrow for what should shape either team’s dreams in the tournament.

The Warriors who trail Lesotho who are on five points by a paltry two, should not consider themselves out of the race. There is still a lot to fight for as The Crocodiles’ surprise win all but threw the race wide open.

A win against South Africa will bring Zimbabwe back into contention.

Lesotho leads the group with Rwanda second with four points, Benin (4), South Africa (4), Nigeria (3) and Zimbabwe (2).

There are no clear favourites at the moment and the pendulum can swing to any direction.

A lot is expected of the team and finding themselves below what was considered minnows at the start of the tournament, Benin, Lesotho and Rwanda may be an indication that football is evolving and defying what was the norm. It is now a bag full of surprises and complacency must never be tolerated.

So many questions begged for answers before the ingenuity of coaches Jairos Tapera, Takesure Chiragwi and Saul Chaminuka can also be queried. Are they of the right pedigree? Do they have international exposure and experience?

Who selects the national team? Fans find it difficult to believe that a coach who is appointed today immediately announces the team.

It would appear it is not the coaches who do so. So who is behind the team selection?

Over the year the media has raised issues that there are cartels locally and abroad that want to always have their own players in the Warriors set up. They do not care whether the team wins or loses, whether rankings drop or firm up as long as it is caps for the boys so that they become more marketable for transfers.

Zifa has to tell the country who selects the national team.

Concerns have been raised as to why some foreign-based players are called to camp. A good number is not playing regular football and the forwards have not been scoring in their respective first teams.

It is important to have a strong scouting team that is non-partisan but wants the best for the country and its best talent.

Also disturbing is the human traffic disguised as legends or former Warriors players. It tends to be disruptive and news that it was a free-for-all even at the team’s hotel is disturbing.

These side shows tend to overwhelm everyone in the camp and disrupt concentration levels.

Agents may be among those so-called legends and have a devastating effect to the Warriors and country’s World Cup dreams.

Such activities show a lack of camp discipline or etiquette.

However, despite such concerns, we hope we learnt our lessons from the Lesotho debacle and we will soon put our house in order. Anyway, we have always played well against South Africa. We just pray that the boys rise to the occasion on Tuesday.


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