Warriors must qualify for Gabon 2017

JOHANNESBURG - I was in Cairo this week to witness the draw of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) 2017 qualifiers of which the finals will take place in Gabon.

My interest specifically was on Zimbabwe, Mzansi of course as my adopted country and Zambia as one of the powerhouses of Cosafa.

As we all know by now, Zimbabwe are in what many termed a feasible group together with Guinea, Malawi and Swaziland.

South Africa will play Cameroon, Mauritania and Gambia while Zambia will have to contend with Congo, Kenya and Guinea Bissau.

Having had experienced one of the worst seasons ever, Zimbabwean football has an opportunity to put a smile on the faces of the long-suffering fans following reports that the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) is broke and that they have been barred from competing in the 2018 Fifa World Cup scheduled for Russia.

On top of that, there is no love lost between those running the game in the country and the mainstream media — and the government seems to have been sucked in the murky waters as well threatening to dissolve the

entire national association (this remains a pipe dream though as we all know Fifa’s stance on government interference in football matters).

My colleagues down here in Mzansi have always said they found no answers on why exactly Zimbabwe cannot feature prominently on continental showpieces on regular basis.

They have some of the best professional footballers scattered across the globe with most of their stars playing key roles in top Mzansi clubs. Why can’t they translate that form into the national team, they ask? Guinea might be the trickiest opponents in the group but they are no world beaters by any standards while Malawi and Swaziland remain paper tigers.

This should be the year the Warriors end years of living in the shadows of their neighbours Zambia and South Africa.

Preparations for Afcon 2017 qualifiers must start now and not wait until a week or a few days to go before the qualifiers kick off.

With the bulk of most Warriors squad likely to be drawn from the ABSA Premier League here in Mzansi, the coach must start drawing his possible team now — and a quick suggestion for him is to make Willard Katsande the captain of the new-look side.

The midfield work-horse has had a blinder of the season with log leaders Kaizer Chiefs with many soccer pundits predicting he will win this season’s Player of the Season award without a shadow of a doubt. The 29-year-old has also shown some leadership qualities on and off the pitch and one need a winner to lead a national team that needs to win matches.

Apart from Katsande, you also have Cuthbert Malajila and Khama Billiat who are both in sensational form with Mamelodi Sundowns.

The two have been scoring goals on regular basis and one expects that they translate that form when they are called up to the national team.

Still at Downs, Kudakwashe Mahachi is also having a great season so are goalkeeper Energy Murambadoro who has transformed Amazulu FC since joining the Durban side.

With an array of these superstars, one wonders why Zimbabwe hardly qualifies for major continental showpieces.

My gut feeling having seen the players I mentioned above in action recently, I think the golden era might return to Zimbabwe again.

It has been long overdue but better late than never!

Comments (2)

Energy Murambadoro might be on form at Amazulu, but I think he has gone past his worthy to be warriors number One going forward. Adminstratively is where we are lacking big time. Cashbert must unveil Warriors plan as soon as possible the dates are out. This is a fair draw you can't ask anything more. We need 12points from Malawi and Swaziland and force a draw away to Guinea and attempt to go through even via back door [second best]. There are only three groups that have a potential second best slot and we are in one of the group.

X-MAN IV - 11 April 2015

Guinea is the only threat..but we should win the group.....not hope for the second best place out of those many 12 groups

TAKUDZWA - 12 April 2015

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