warriors2 zim.jpgIn less than three weeks the Zimbabwe Warriors date the Lone Stars of Liberia in a crucial African Cup of Nations qualifier that will probably shape the destiny of Zimbabwean football for the next few years.


But how prepared is the country to embark once more on a journey into the African Safari?


It is 4 years since Zimbabwe’s Warriors last participated at the continent’s biggest soccer showpiece, the African Nations Cup. To be precise, it was Egypt in 2006 and Zimbabwean supporters endured two tournaments of cheering from the stands while the big boys of African football played in Ghana in 2008 and Angola this year.


Fears have mounted that this could be a signal of the return to the dark ages of Zimbabwean football when the Warriors had to wait for 24 years before making a debut appearance at AFCON 2004 in Tunisia.


warriors fans.jpgWhile an ordinary Zimbabwean soccer supporter can be able to give a correct line up of the Black Stars of Ghana or Bafana Bafana’s first eleven, few including experts will be able to tell who will don the Warriors jersey in Monrovia.


In short, the Warriors line up has not been consistent in the past few months. With several good and average players dotted around the globe, will the national team technical department be able to bring in the strongest possible squad to kick-start the 2012 campaign.


With the football mother body always facing perennial sponsorship problems, there are genuine fears that Zimbabwe might end up opting for local based players and those in South Africa to cut down on expenses to the detriment of the Warriors chances. 


ZIFA Board Member Competitions, Benedict Moyo says the mother body will render the necessary support to ensure that coach Norman Mapeza takes his preferred arsenal to Monrovia.


In the past, ZIFA has always been found wanting with key players failing to be availed for crucial matches. For ZIFA President Cuthbert Dube, the association’s turn around will bring results that will change the face of local football, while Board Member FinanceM Elliot Kasu says change is imminent.


While the nation is tasking former captain Norman Mapeza to steer the ship albeit in an acting capacity, ZIFA is still not clear on his status.


The nation will indeed hope the end will be rosy indeed as his two predecessors Valinhos and Sunday Chidzambwa had to seek recourse for unpaid salaries through litigation.


While the majority of foreign based players such as Knowledge Musona, Nyasha Mushekwi, Method Mwanjali, Tafadzwa Rusike, Lionel Mtizwa and Thomas Sweswe are in the South African premiership, very few in that league could make it for the World Cup in 2014.


From other leagues the future of Zimbabwean soccer lies in players such as Clement Matawu, Edward Sadomba, Justice Majabvi, Coasta Nhamoinesu, Onismo Bhasera and Quincy Antipas. While captain Benjani Mwaruwaru might be available for the 2012 campaign, expecting him to make it to Brazil 2014 will be demanding too much.


Though it is easy to name players in the Polish, English or Austrian league, the availability of these players will entirely depend on the availability of resources.


The failure to build a strong squad for the 2012 campaign will have far reaching negative consequences as there will be no time to prepare for the 2013 AfCON competition. The nation’s hopes of rejoining the big brothers of African football rest on decisions made by football authorities.


For it is a fact that Zimbabweans are a soccer mad people.