Barring any possible ban from FIFA, in less than two months, the Warriors will step on Cameroonian soil for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals.
By Lawrence Mangenje
The 33rd edition of the continental spectacle will start on January 9 but there is a slight possibility of Zimbabwe being disqualified from it, due to a decision made by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) to suspend the Felton Kamambo-led ZIFA board.
FIFA does not allow government interference in how member associations run the game.
Away from the administrative squabbles, the country’s senior men national team is on a massive downward spiral.
The Warriors recently completed a disastrous World Cup qualifying campaign, which has widened the distance between the team and it’s ‘loyal’ fans.
Drawn in a group many felt everyone (Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe) had a realistic chance to qualify to the last round, the team failed to register a win the entire campaign and finished rock bottom with only two points from a possible 18.
Outspoken coach Zdravko Logarusic paid the price for what was perceived by football stakeholders as a very poor start to the campaign.
Loga was shown the exit door on September 12, after the 0-1 loss to Ethiopia.
When the firebrand coach left, Zimbabwe had one point from two matches- a point from the goalless draw with South Africa on match day one.
His replacement, crowd favourite and former captain Norman Mapeza, was tasked to oversee the remaining four games.
ZIFA cast a blind eye on the fact that Mapeza, despite the vast resources at FC Platinum’s disposal, has failed to guide the defending league champions to dizzy heights in the CAF Champions League, and appointed the former Galatasaray midfielder to preside over the remaining campaign.
Contrary to misleading theories being propounded now, that Mapeza’s mission was only to prepare the team for AFCON when he took over, the Warriors still had a mathematical chance of topping Group G when they arrived in Cape Coast, Ghana, for a date with the Black Stars.
Interestingly, Mapeza amassed the same number points in four matches (one), that Logarusic collected in two games.
The team however did not score a single goal in the two opening games presided over by Loga, while under Mapeza, they scored 2 goals in four matches, at a goal per every 270 minutes ratio.
72 days and four games after Logarusic, progression or regression?