Zim football in intensive care

JOHANNESBURG - My good country Zim will once again be watching the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals from the sidelines.

Since being admitted to the international fold in 1980, Zimbabwe has only managed to feature at Africa’s biggest football showpiece on a pittance two occasions.

Surely for a country which has produced some of the biggest football names on the continent, this is not acceptable.

Last Sunday was the latest of the Warriors’ fans heartbreaks when Ian Gorowa’s boys were eliminated from the 2015 Afcon tournament having been pathetically held to a 2-2 draw by Taifa Stars of Tanzania to go out 3-2 on aggregate. They had lost the first leg 1-0 in Dar-es-Salaam.

Flattering to deceive has become the norm for the Warriors fans. They go through this calamity year in, year out with the hope that there might be a different outcome.

When the Warriors were drawn against Tanzania, we all thought this should be a formality. After all we had this idea in our patriotism judgment that there is no serious soccer played in Tanzania and so we should proceed to the next round with ease.

Whether we were right or wrong, Zimbabwe should be able to beat Tanzania under normal circumstances.

Among Africa’s four continental regions, Cosafa, Cecafa, Wafa and North Africa, it is the East and Central African states which should rank lowest on the pecking order.

So losing to the East Africans was unfathomed, embarrassing and made Zimbabwe once again a laughing stock in the eyes of the outside world.

The country has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately with the economic meltdown a talk around the globe.

It is on the sporting front where we should be looking for some solace but it appears as though everything that we touch as Zimbabweans these days turns to disaster.

Everything we do seem to mirror our sorry political and economic situation.

And as for football, my prophecy is the misery will continue for some time to come.

I hear many sporting commentators say, Zifa chairman Cuthbert Dube is the blame for the current malaise but I beg to differ completely.

If it was not for Dube, Zifa would have closed shop long back. He has pumped his own money into the association, money meant for his family.

Did I hear some of you say that it is ill-gotten? That is neither here nor there. Thing is part of that money, which he is not obliged to, has gone to help Zifa.

Corporate companies are not receptive in sponsoring the game of football and unless that mindset changes, the sport will continue to suffer.

I was just wondering whether professional players have standing contracts in which they receive monthly salaries and get paid on a given date without failure.

Why is it that clubs in Zimbabwe, even as big as Dynamos and CAPS United, to date don’t have club houses or permanent offices on which they operate from?

In modern times, it is taboo to pay players or operate your day to day business from the boot of the car.

It is no wonder every player wants to trek down to Mzansi to earn a living wage but in the long run, this does not do the game back home any good.

We might hang Ian Gorowa on the altar to dry but the problem is far bigger than what meets the eye.

Zimbabwe soccer is in intensive care and needs everyone’s help to revive it.

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