Zifa must build on Warriors' victory

HARARE - Congratulations to the Zimbabwe senior men’s soccer team, the Warriors, for winning a record fifth Council of Southern Africa (Cosafa) Cup title by beating Zambia yesterday in South Africa.

There is every reason to look into the future with so much optimism after the heroics of this largely fringe team which underlined the abundant talent in Zimbabwe.

A team largely made up of players picked from local clubs and blended with a few plying their trade in South Africa — minus CAPS United and those domestic stars who did duty in June against Liberia in the African Cup Of Nations (Afcon) —  did quite well.

Stellar performances in their preliminary group in which they scored 10 without conceding and barnstorming performances in the knock-out stages which eventually led them to the title — are things to be proud of.

All in all the Warriors plundered 19 goals and conceded just five.

But let’s not be blown away by this achievement.

Zifa president Phillip Chiyangwa and his team need to build on this victory to assemble a team that will do well at next year’s African Nations Championships (Chan) and the Afcon qualifiers.

A lot of criticism, and rightly so, has been directed at Chiyangwa and Zifa for the way they have handled the Afcon qualifier against Liberia and the just-ended Cosafa Cup.

Zifa appointed two different sets of coaches for these games and are likely to have a new technical team for the Chan next year.

The fact the Warriors have won silverware must not distract us from the many glaring weaknesses that are still dominant in national football.

Zifa needs to have a substantive coach and proper facilities that help all the national teams prepare and play without distractions.

The national football governing body needs a credible sponsor who invests in the game for the love of it not for personal gain and glory like what we have seen with some of the so-called sponsors who offer support but with lots of strings attached.

If Chiyangwa looks at his 18 months in football where doubts were raised about his competency to lead Zifa, he should aim to do more because in the time that he has been in office he has achieved a lot.

The Warriors qualified for the 2017 Gabon Afcon, Mighty Warriors went to the Rio Olympics and now the Warriors have won the Cosafa Cup.

In all these achievements, nothing was really perfect.

One can imagine what Zimbabwe football can scale if everything is properly organised.

There is need to build on the Cosafa Cup victory to plan  for a better future.

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