The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
The Zimbabwe Football Association leadership has congratulated the country’s senior national men’s team for the win over Botswana on Thursday, a victory which saw the Warriors qualify for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.
In a statement on Friday, Zimbabwe said three successive appearances at the finals and qualifying with a game in hand by some players in the current team shows much progress the country is making as a football nation.
“We are grateful to the efforts of the entire Zifa executive committee, council, secretariat and other well-meaning stakeholders whose tireless efforts ensured that we emerged triumphant.
“It was not an easy campaign due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the commitment of the players and the technical team to the cause was never shaken. That the team shone brightly at a moment when some would have believed it was weak is a true reflection of the Warrior spirit in them,’’ said Zifa.
The national association thanked the Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC) and the Government for providing an enabling environment that ensured this historic qualification. Zifa are confident that with government support, football will inevitably contribute to the growth and development of our economy.
“We shall continue to support the team’s activities so that it continues to give Zimbabwe reason to celebrate. It’s never easy in our situation, but the spirit of the team continues to encourage Zifa to do its best in all circumstances.
“What Zimbabwe can learn from the Warriors is that team work and shared objectives lead to success. We appeal to all Zimbabweans to support the team and the association so that our results reflect the abundant talent in our country,’’ Zifa said.
They appealed to all stakeholders including the corporate world and the media to use this uniting opportunity to seal permanent relationships and smart objective partnerships since they believe unity for common purpose will enable all our sporting teams to succeed.
“Heartfelt gratitude goes to our supporters who have been denied the chance to celebrate physically with our football heroes when they return home tonight and during the match against Zambia on Monday. Football is for us all, and without each other it becomes less fulfilling,’’ concluded the Zifa statement.
Zimbabwe sealed a place in next year’s Afcon after Zambia drew 3-3 with Algeria in Lusaka, a result which meant that the top two in Group H will remain the same come the end of the qualifiers with the Dessert Foxes on top and the Warriors second.
Had Zambia won and taken their points tally to six, Chipolopolo would have stood a chance of qualifying if they them gone on to beat Zimbabwe at the National Sports Stadium on Monday.