Warriors 'shame' Zifa

HARARE - Zimbabwe national team — blighted by financial woes and often chaotic preparations for big matches — yesterday rose seven places on the Fifa rankings to make a mockery of the country’s current football status.

The Warriors moved from 119 to 112 on the back of impressive showings in the last two months.

And among the heroes for this surprising but welcome ranking is gangly former Dynamos and Warriors international — Calisto Pasuwa — who has had to endure torment at the hands of his employers, Zifa.

The Warriors’ 1-2 away victory over the Flames of Malawi in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier which came against mutiny in their camp owing to disagreements over bonuses, has seen the senior men’s soccer team retracing itself towards the right side of the rankings.

Two days before their scheduled departure for Malawi, the Warriors refused to board the plane — putting their tie in jeopardy — as they vowed not to fulfil their fixture over a row with Zifa which had offered the players and technical team derisive allowances.

The team left by road on the eve of the match and despite being subjected to stress, defeated Malawi who enjoy a lot of government sponsorship and an endorsement deal with global brewing giant Carlsberg.

Yesterday’s news of the Warriors was greeted with optimism by key figures who believe the current crop of players has the pedigree to take the team forward, but only on the back of solid support.

Paul Gundani, Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (Fuz) secretary-general, said the rise was an indicator that the Warriors had the potential to go places.

“I think this is an indicator that we have a good team. For me, if the current crop of players is given enough time for preparations they can achieve big things like qualifying for Afcon,” Gundani told the Daily News yesterday.

“But the challenge is that for how long are we going to have inadequate preparations? Let’s just give the players good preparations and get results.  Zifa must change their approach when it comes to national team preparations.

“I also want to urge coach Pasuwa to continue to give his best despite the challenges he faces,” Gundani added.

Warriors’ assistant coach Nation Dube echoed Gundani’s sentiments saying they have told their players to concentrate on playing in order to showcase their talents.

“As coaches we need preparations. It’s not good to prepare for only two or three days. With the rankings I think we are moving in the right direction in as far as the performance of our team is concerned,” Dube said.

“We are motivating them.

“Look, many players are going for trials; we told them that money is not important than having an opportunity of playing for your national team but I am not saying that they must not be given their money.

“If PSL say that the game is not on the Fifa calendar we are destroying our nation in terms of football. This is our country. We need combined efforts for us to shine,” Dube added.

The Warriors also moved up two places on the continental rankings, from number 34 to 32.

Algeria remained on pole position in Africa and had climbed two places on the world rankings to position 19.

Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tunisia and Senegal complete the top five on the continent.

Lionel Messi’s Argentina knocked Germany off top place in the Fifa world rankings despite having lost to their rivals in the World Cup final last year and to Chile in last weekend’s Copa America.

Reaching the Copa final took the Argentines up two places to claim No 1 ranking for the first time in seven years.

New South American champions Chile moved up eight places to number 11.

Romania rose four places to eighth, England six places to ninth and Wales surged 12 positions after their European Championships qualifying win over Belgium to 10th place.


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