21 games, 1 win: Is ‘Warriors’ even a befitting name for this team?

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The title warrior is used in reference to a very brave fighter.

By Lawrence Mangenje

The Zimbabwe national soccer team got the name ‘Warriors’, for their bravery and hunter-like character when they played against opponents.

Then, the Warriors, led by German tactician Reinhard Fabisch, played some of the finest soccer to earn the name ‘Dream Team’ in the early 90s.

This is despite the fact that they did not achieve much in terms of continental and international football rankings.

Regardless, the title ‘Warriors’ was befitting because of the team’s gallantry displays.

History will harshly say Fabisch’s charges never won or achieved anything but the fighting spirit that team had, is unparalleled.

In 1994, Fabisch’s troops were 90 minutes away from booking a place at the World Cup in the United States, in a campaign in which they beat the likes of Egypt and Cameroon.  Although the campaign was unsuccessful, their fighting spirit is fondly remembered.

Also, the Dream Team’s failure, which is amplified by the fact that it never qualified for the AFCON finals, is somewhat exaggerated.

Back then, there were only 12 places available at the continental football fiesta, unlike now, when 22 spots are up for grabs.

The current crop of Warriors, dubbed by some as the ‘Golden Generation’, continues to fail the nation. Surprisingly, their failure is justified through a catalogue of excuses.

This team has played 21 games since 2020 but won only one.

Two different coaches, with very different philosophies, have overseen those matches but only a solitary victory has been achieved.

The 1-0 win over Botswana in Francistown in March last year, which came courtesy of a solitary Perfect Chikwende first half header, remains the only victory recorded by the Zimbabwe national team, in four different competitions in the last two years.

Since Tino Kadewere moved to France in 2019 and got all the hype and harsh tags on social media, he has scored only one goal in the gold and green Warriors strip.

In the aforementioned period, Knowledge Musona has scored only two goals for Zimbabwe- a free kick and a penalty.

When Khama Billiat retired from international football in November last year, he had gone for two years without registering a goal or assist for Zimbabwe.

This team has not won a match at the National Sports Stadium since September 2019.

Are our players really good at this game or we are just passionate as a nation?

Why do we continue to blame everything else but the players who actually play the game?

In 2019, they stepped on Egyptian soil for the 32nd edition of the AFCON finals with a hopeful nation behind them.

The squad assembled by Sunday Chidzambwa, was arguably the strongest ever to represent Zimbabwe at the continental football showpiece. But, it failed dismally, scoring just one goal the entire tournament.

Musona, speaking on behalf of his colleagues, blamed the Felton Kamambo-led ZIFA board for playing hide and seek with their allowances in Cairo, resulting in the team ‘not focusing’ on football and that theory was believed.

Kamambo is out of the picture, and they were pampered with allowances in Cameroon,  but still failed to rise to the occasion.

The disappointing performance against Malawi, is a true reflection of the level these players are really at.

The current group of Warriors is overestimated and the title ‘Warriors’ itself, is just a name.

feedback: lawrence@soccer24.co.zw