Protecting Gumbo, rewarding failure

HARARE - Zimbabwe's disastrous failure to qualify for next year’s African Nations Cup finals in neighbouring South Africa has understandably caused pain and heartache for local football fans.

The fact that Zimbabwe went to the Angolan capital Luanda for the final qualifying leg with a healthy 3-1 aggregate and that the Afcon finals will be across the border in South Africa, has deepened the anguish of Zimbabwean football lovers.

In a recent interview with this paper, Zifa president Cuthbert Dube hinted that his board was ready to disband the national team that disgraced the nation in Angola together with the naïve technical bench.

We are therefore shocked by the national football authority’s decision to only axe the players and strangely spare national team coach Rahman Gumbo.

We are convinced that the logical thing would have been to give the bungling Gumbo the boot first, before appointing a new coach, who would then be tasked with coming up with a new national team with aim of qualifying for the 2015 Afcon finals.

Zifa’s decision to determine Gumbo’s fate once he produces a report on the failed Afcon campaign is both strange and crazy.

Why would the Zifa board attach so much importance to a report by a coach who has shown naivety and a serious lack of judgment on the two occasions he has been entrusted with our national team?

Zifa doesn’t seem to learn from their mistakes. In 2006, they fired Gumbo after he led another bunch of sorry Warriors to a 3-0 home loss to Nigeria, but strangely rehired him for the just-ended Afcon qualification campaign.

We find ourselves with no choice but to buy into the popular view that Gumbo owes his continued tenure as Warriors coach to the serious backing he has from two members of the Zifa board. Zifa must boldly tackle the national team problem without protecting failures like Gumbo.

The only way our football can move forward in a better direction is when we refuse to continue living the lie, like we have been doing for a long time now.

As the Zifa president aptly puts it: “We were living a lie, and the big lie was unmasked by Angola on October 14, 2012 when our national team collapsed like a deck of cards inside the first six minutes.”

Expecting miracles from the national team under Gumbo will be indeed continuation of living a lie by the Zimbabwean footballing community. It is time Zifa got real for a change! - Staff Writer

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