What a sorry sight as Warriors return

HARARE - The pictures tell it all — that Zimbabwean football is in a mess.

Although captain Denver Mukamba has tried to put brave a face by insisting they played well in the 1-0 defeat to Guinea on Sunday, the Warriors looked anything but a national team when they jetted back into the country Wednesday.

They could not even afford a proper team kit and clad in all sorts of attire, they were welcomed back home from the chaotic trip by a small group of cheering fans.

With the players seemingly in surprise at the fans’ “elation”, they were quickly whisked away in a team bus with some kind of relief after what Zifa has put them through in the past month.

The heavily depleted Warriors side, missing the services of several key, players lost 1-0 to the Syli Nationale in a Group G 2014 World Cup qualifier.

Regular scorer Knowledge Musona, defender Partson Jaure, midfielders Ovidy Karuru and Khama Billiat all failed to travel to the West African country due to injuries.

Of the technical department, only coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels and team physio Farai Muguwu together with a band of 14 players made it to Conakry following a chaotic travel itinerary organised by the Zimbabwe Football Association.

The rest of the Warriors delegation remained in the Senegalese capital of Dakar after Zifa was unable to organise a connecting flight to Conakry.

The team only got to Conakry a few hours before the match while CAPS United utility player Hardlife Zvirekwi had to turn back after losing his passport while in transit at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Kenya.

The Warriors returned back in the capital Wednesday just before midday without coach Pagels, who is now in Germany for his annual leave.

The German, who is likely to end his short-lived tenure following the recent debacle, is only expected back into the country early next month.

“Everything was fine in Guinea except of the high temperatures. We played well but it’s unfortunate that we lost in the end. But I believe we played a good game,” Mukamba told reporters upon arriving back in the country yesterday.

“We were never really distracted by our travel arrangements because we remained focused on the task at hand on the pitch against Guinea.

“We faced one or two challenges on the trip but we were prepared for it because Guinea is a very distant place.

“It was never going to be an easy trip but we stuck to our task as professional footballers and we gave a good performance on the pitch.”

The Warriors remained bottom of Group G with only a single point from five games following Sunday’s defeat to the Syli Nationale.

Runaway group leaders Egypt sealed their passage to the next round of qualifiers after defeating Mozambique 1-0 in Maputo.

Mukamba is, however, optimistic that the Warriors are destined for success in their future campaigns despite the recent poor results.

“As a team I think we are heading in the right direction it’s just unfortunate that we lost these World Cup qualifiers,” said the Bidvest Wits midfielder.

“We were still gelling as a team but I’m glad we now know each other very well and we understand each other’s play.

“As the coach has always been saying in the past, we need at least eight or 10 games to be judged where we are going.

“I’m sure that the results will start coming in our next matches. We have been playing well in our last matches and moving on forward we should start winning.”

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