Battle for Egypt 2019 . . . as Zifa woos former captains

The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) is pulling all the stops to ensure the Warriors qualify for the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals set for Egypt later this year and have roped in former national team captains in their quest to achieve that goal.

The association’s new leadership has invited all the former national team captains in post-independent Zimbabwe to rally the Warriors for their final Afcon qualifier. Zimbabwe will face Congo at the National Sports Stadium on March 24 in a final Group G game.

Although the Warriors need just a point, Zifa board member in charge of  marketing Sugar Chagonda said they were not taking any chances and have asked the former captains to also come on board to drum up support for the national side.

This came after Chagonda yesterday met with two of the former captains — Moses “Bambo” Chunga and Ephraim “Rock of Gibraltar” Chawanda — and discussed the Warriors match and other aspects that can help in developing the local game.

“In terms of preparations we are working flat out to ensure that all is set for this match. I think as you already know the squad has been announced and right now what we are doing is to ensure everything is in place for their camp next week,” Chagonda said.

“Administration wise, we are almost there, we are leaving no stone unturned in terms of preparing for this important game. We just need a point to qualify for the Afcon which means we are just 90 minutes away from Cairo. “But from our standing point, we just don’t need that one point we need to collect maximum points, we need a photo-finish to the campaign so that we give confidence to all the stakeholders, we want to make sure that this game will remain on the minds of all those who are running behind Zimbabwe.”

Chagonda continued: “This has also been the point which we discussed even with our former captains that they still need to give determination and tremendous inspiration to the boys. They are still captains of the country. So I think even on psychological pressure they can still come handy because this campaign started way back.

“Remember even when Chawanda was the captain for the Dream Team, I’m sure you still recall what happened in Egypt during the time of Reinhard Fabisch there was a lot of noise. So it’s rekindling the spirit of national team which was there before.

“So these former captains have a critical role to play, if they are to meet with the current captain to discuss one or two things, it even gives psychological edge, that motivation to our players. But if the former players are invisible and we don’t recognise them I don’t think we will be doing the right thing.

“If you look at it Knowledge Musona is captain today but give him 10-15 years he will be the next Chawanda and we can’t throw him away. We still need him. By involving former players in our football it has a motivational effect to the current players because they will know that when my time to retire comes I will not be a forgotten hero.

“We don’t want to put pressure on our boys but we want to motivate them. Our engagement with the former players is not just for this match but it’s beyond this game. We must continuously engage.”
Chunga concurred with Chagonda saying: “What Zifa has done is very commendable.

It’s the first of its kind. Our football had regressed in the past years and we seem to be back on track. I think we need to implement whatever we talk about. “Ahead of this match, it’s not about putting the boys under pressure but motivate them. Maybe having lunch together will make a huge difference in motivating the boys.”

Chawanda added that: “As former players we are backing this current crop of players to finish the business that we never achieved.”

Comments (1)

Please include Peter Ndlovu, Misheck ( Lakaju) Chidzambga and William Mugeyi, this is a brilliant idea to bring former captains and psyche the squad.

Kufandada - 14 March 2019

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