Deceit, greed and mercenary behaviour

HARARE - The impressive showing of Zimbabwean players in midweek action of the South African Premier Soccer League made hearts swell with pride back home, but on the flip side, presented a compelling case of the Country vs Club debate.

Kingstone Nkhatha netted a brace for Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs on Tuesday evening while Cuthbert Malajila also scored a double for Maritzburg United the following day.

Former Dynamos hitman Takesure Chinyama put the icing on the cake with a beautiful curling effort in the Buccaneers’ 3-1 victory over Mamelodi Sundowns.

While I was chuffed on these fellow countrymen’s behalf, on the other hand, it got me wondering why with such an assortment of attacking football talent, our national side continues to underachieve in continental football.

Is it that our players do not give their all to their country?

Do Zimbabwean footballers understand what it means to pull over that green-and-gold of the Warriors?

Monetary benefits aside, a national team, first and foremost, carries the joy, the pride and the hopes of the entire nation.

Footballers are not known to have the finest brains, so as a nation there is need to treat our players with a bit of special care.

It seems the players who are chosen to represent Zimbabwe have not been indoctrinated into carrying this national responsibility on their shoulders.

Last week, Zifa vice president Ndumiso Gumede gave journalists a great insight into the thinking of a typical Zimbabwean national team player.

Gumede claims during a welfare meeting between Zifa board members and the Warriors, players suggested they paid $4 000 as an appearance fee, just for being chosen to play for the country.

For a winning bonus, they were content with $400!

A pretty shocking indictment, if these claims are true, of the mercenary behaviour in our footballers. It is such behaviour which makes it not so hard to believe that some of our players can actually sell their country’s place at such a grand stage as the African Nations Cup for few pieces of silver.  

I am not sure how to make of Zifa’s disbandment of our entire national team, but moving forward we must completely eradicate this mentality of non-patriotism and usher in a next generation of ambassadors who play for the pride of the country.

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