Warriors have a good chance

JOHANNESBURG - This is one Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament which got Zimbabwe football fans really talking.

Not that they don’t have a sound argument.

The Warriors left for the Central African country of Gabon oozing confident because not a lot of teams participating at Gabon 2017 have got such an array of talent at their disposal.

The Warriors are a team teeming with a galaxy of superstars and their frontline instils fear in every opposition’s backline.

Just for teasers, who wouldn’t like to have the likes of Khama Billiat and Knowledge Musona in his line up? This is a duo which can cause damage to any defence irrespective of the country.

While the Warriors left Zimbabwe under a cloud, this should have little impact on what they can achieve on the field of play.

The harsh reality is that they are in a tough Group B together with Algeria, Tunisia and Senegal. This group has been dubbed the Group of Death but Kalisto Pasuwa should not have excuses.

This is an opportunity for him to write a name for himself and market himself to earn a lucrative outside the borders of Zimbabwe.

All three opposition are beatable, names aside.

But the Warriors go into the tournament which might define their status with an unfortunate cloud hanging over their heads.

The issue of bonuses and allowances have dominated headlines instead of their preparations and focus on the tournament.

Though this is an African disease, such matters should have been foreseen and discussed beforehand.

Journalists were always waiting for this opportunity and the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) didn’t disappoint.

They fell into the trap of both the media and players alike, waiting until the 11th hour to negotiate issues of bonuses and allowances though president Phillip Chiyangwa has told the outside world that all is well now.

But even the way the matter was handled is likely to come back and haunt Zifa. They allowed players to dictate the pace too much and to accede to such huge financial demands from players is not sustainable, me thinks.

For a country of Zimbabwe’s stature to say they can afford to pay each player US$400 allowance per day smacks of holding the Association to ransom. Even Mzansi with its good financial standing, pay each player US$100 as allowance.

Will Zifa honour that pledge? I wait eagerly to see this although Chiyangwa again said this issue was water under the bridge.

Financial matters aside, the Warriors have an opportunity to leave a lasting impression in Gabon. My only worry is talisman Billiat has played too much football lately and might have arrived in Gabon very fatigued.

For the past 18 months, the speedy striker has played football non-stop and this might come back to worry the Warriors who are pinning their hopes on the Mamelodi Sundowns striker.

But it might also turn out to be a blessing in disguise because the Harare-born striker is not rusty and still in the groove of high class football.

If Zimbabwe doesn’t cause havoc in Gabon, I don’t see any other opportunity for the only Cosafa representatives to shine.

Go Warriors Go!

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