Time of reckoning for Warriors

JOHANNESBURG - This week must rank as one of the most vital period in the history of Zimbabwean football.

The Warriors are in the Angolan capital of Luanda where they have a date with one of their most renowned soccer arch-rivals. At stake is a potentially rewarding ticket to the 2013 African Nations Cup finals here in Mzansi.

Yes, this is a watershed week for the game of football in Zimbabwe and a lot of factors hinge on the outcome of this encounter.

A win for the Warriors would not only open doors for the much and long awaited corporate sponsors; a win will likely bring a massive soccer boom not seen since the country’s political independence.

Needless to say after years of political and social turmoil, if the Warriors pull off this one, it will also bring the social cohesion millions of Zimbabweans have been longing for some time.

An unlikely loss will have unbearable consequences for the game back home. Not only will good players at home look across the border to make a living out of the game, football, and club football in particular, will continue to be a feeder for Mzansi clubs. A loss will also bring apathy among future stars and the end result is loss of revenue for the game. Fans are likely to stay away from the matches if Warriors lose in Angola and football will have little attraction, something that will have devastating consequences on the future of the sport.

While any result is possible despite the Warriors carrying a healthy 3-1 lead, for now it desirable to live in hope and pretend there is only one result up for grabs – a win and nothing else.

Every Zimbabwean back home and those millions scattered around the world have waited for tomorrow’s encounter with baited breath. They all want their Warriors to fly the Zimbabwean flag high. Those staying in Mzansi cannot comprehend a tournament here without their heroes – yet there is every possibility of a crushing adverse outcome, come tomorrow.

The good wishes the Warriors have received from family, friends and well-wishers definitely have put an unwarranted pressure for them to deliver. Whether they have the BMT (big match temperament) now waits to be seen.

I have had my take a few weeks ago on how Rahman Gumbo should approach this game and I am tempted to add my voice once again. It might sound repetitive but I am sure my impartial approach, which is dictated by my journalism background, has been vanquished by firm patriotism for my beloved country.

It is needless to repeat for Gumbo that packing the bus from the first whistle should not be the first option. Go out there, be on the offensive and enjoy the game. Give as much as Angola will throw at us and the result will take care of itself.

Angola are on the tenterhooks and if the Warriors draw first blood, I see them panicking like ambushed rebels. They are under more pressure than the Warriors in the sense that the home supporters will boo them if Zimbabwe Warriors go on top early in the match.

Throwing away a healthy 3-1 lead is normally unheard of, but this game remains finely poised and anyone who wants it most will emerge victorious.

I am glad the toxic money issue has not raised its ugly face again. That issue will take care of itself with a positive result.

My parting shot to the Warriors is, we need you here in Mzansi please. Don’t disappoint the nation. Our hopes rest on how you handle tomorrow’s 90 minutes. I remain very positive.

Go Warriors Go! - Tinotenda Panashe

*Tinotenda Panashe is our South Africa-based columnist and correspondent. He can be contacted by e-mail at Tinotenda.Panashe@gmail.com.

    Comments (3)


    CHIPIKIRI - 14 October 2012


    CHIPIKIRI - 14 October 2012


    CHIPIKIRI - 14 October 2012

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