ZIFA says it has learnt a lot both administratively and technically after the Warriors poor preparations ahead of their match against Guinea.
Zimbabwe lost the match 1-0 but had chaotic preparations only managing to leave on Saturday evening aboard a chartered flight organised by the Ministry of Sports and Recreation.
A statement from ZIFA President Philip Chiyangwa read:
On behalf of the Zimbabwe Football Association and the football loving family of this country, I would like to salute our Warriors for displaying their fighting qualities and narrowly going down to Guinea under the difficult conditions in Conakry on Sunday night.
As may be common knowledge by now, we did not have the best of travelling arrangements, more so to a tricky a destination such as Conakry and I acknowledge that as an association and as a nation we could have done better in that regard as this impacts on the team’s performance.
On that note, I would like to pay special tribute to the government of Zimbabwe through the Minister of Sport and Recreation, Hon Makhosini Hlongwane, Netone Cellular, Air Zimbabwe and all our valued corporate partners and friends who came on board to ensure we managed to fulfil the fixture and complete our qualification campaign.
We believe that we have drawn some important lessons both administratively and technically from this trip to Guinea, which should stand us in good stead as we now turn our full focus to the actual African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in Gabon in January 2017.
The AFCON finals will be preceded by a draw to be held in Libreville, Gabon, on 19 October which will give us the identity of our group opponents for the tournament.
Our technical team will soon roll out their training programme also outlining their preferred camping bases in preparation for the Gabon finals.
In this regard, I would like to assure the nation that we are working round the clock to ensure that the Warriors’ preparations for Gabon are as smooth as possible and this is despite the challenges that we are facing as an association in a tough economic environment.
I must reiterate that the 2017 AFCON finals campaign is not for ZIFA alone, it is not for Philip Chiyangwa alone but it is a collective responsibility for a soccer loving country – Zimbabwe. I once again call upon the corporates, individuals and the government to all join hands with ZIFA to make the Gabon campaign a successful one.
Together we can and we believe we have the capable human resources to bring us success and it is up to all of us individually and collectively to give the Warriors the support they need. As I have said previously, the Mighty Warriors are going to the Women AFCON in Cameroon in from November 19 to December 3.
Like their Warriors brothers, the Mighty Warriors also need our collective support and partnership in order to afford them adequate preparations that will enable them to be in the right physical and mental condition to conquer Africa. Judging from the girls’ fighting spirit against top opposition in Brazil earlier this year, lifting the trophy is a strong possibility.
We are in a strong position to achieve double success at the respective African Cup of Nations tournaments and we have it within our powers as Zimbabweans to achieve that.