We have reason to believe

HARARE - The emotions of failing to reach the final of the Chan competition behind us, Zimbabwean football can look into the future with much greater hope following hearty performances by the Warriors in South Africa. 

There has been widespread disappointment, and some outrage, following Zimbabwe’s failure to secure a final berth in a tournament they could have so easily won.

The nation, however, needs to take heart from the team’s overall showing. If also you were to put that failure of making the final into the context of the tournament’s outcome – in which rank outsiders Libya were crowned champions ahead of such favourites as Ghana and Nigeria – you will see that Zimbabwe have all the more reason not to despair, but build on what we saw in South Africa.

The overall performance in South Africa should be the catalyst to spur the nation on to greater things in football.

With two wins, two draws and two defeats, the Warriors returned home with a laudable record and a sense of the time to come.

Players like George Chigova, Partson Jaure, Danny Phiri and Kuda Mahachi give Zimbabwe hope for the future.

The Chan experience will certainly give Ian Gorowa and his team a major boost ahead of the 2015 African Nations Cup qualifiers.

Failure to score in most of the Chan games was and will remain a cause of great concern, but a functional team is a team where the members are in full communication, setting themselves clear roles and full participation in order to achieve a common goal.

The Warriors did well in that aspect of the game; the goalkeeper was outstanding, the defence was impregnable, central midfield was solid and the ball-playing midfielders created a flurry of scoring opportunities.

If you are a football coach, there is nothing more satisfying that being spoilt for choice, as Ian Gorowa is right now.

One reliable indicator of the quality of a side is the players they leave out.

As much as we have been charmed by most of the players who did duty at Chan, outside that group, as a nation we still have another array of red-hot talent that the coach has at his disposal. 

Washington Arubi, Lincoln Zvasiya, Willard Karsange, Archieford Gutu, Khama Billiat, Quincy Antipas, Cuthbert Malajila, Knowledge Musona, and most recently Tendai Ndoro and Silas Songani, will come and challenge for places in the games.

Of course, based on performance at Chan, quite a few of that local-based group will stake a claim in a first choice Zimbabwe XI.

Kuda Mahachi has shown how special a talent he is and right now he will easily walk into any team on the continent. Partson Jaure is a smart defender with great awareness, showing maturity and composure in high pressure situations, and a lot of people have been quite pleasantly surprised by the capability of his central defence partner, Eric Chipeta.

Wingbacks Hardlife Zvirekwi and Milton Ncube were calm and calculated in defence and showed real desire to go on the attack.

And if Zimbabwe’s backline was a success story of the tournament, goalkeeper George Chigova’s performance between the sticks was a fairy-tale.

Then there is Danny Phiri, an immovable stalwart in the heart of Zimbabwe’s team, a box-to-box player and a strong and tough tackling holding midfielder who has displayed the traits of some of the country’s greatest players in that position.

With this awesome assortment of talent, the 2015 Afcon qualifiers cannot come too quickly for Zimbabwe.

We may never know what the future holds, but we can trust who holds the future – so goes the old age adage.

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