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Inside sport: Racing against time


WITH only six weeks before Zimbabwe takes on Lesotho in a 2026 World Cup qualifier, Zimbabweans are still in the dark as to who the coach of the Warriors will be.

What is even disheartening is that those in charge of Zimbabwean football — the Zifa normalisation committee (NC) — do not seem to understand the urgency of this coaching matter.

The situation has been made worse by the exchange of verbal blows between interim Warriors coach Norman Mapeza and player Jordan Zemura, who plays for Udinese in the Serie A in Italy.

Word was that the NC wanted Mapeza to continue as the Zimbabwe coach, but the developments over the past week could have sent those plans to the canvas.

Whatever the case is, word should sink into the heads of the NC that time is running out and the coach needs time to identify the players he needs for the Lesotho game and the one that follows against South Africa.

Unless, of course, the NC wants to follow their known practice of picking the team and then giving it to the coach to produce acceptable results.

This has proved to be a recipe for disaster as evidenced by what happened to the Warriors and the Young Warriors at the Four-Nations Tournament in Malawi where Zifa selected the team for Mapeza.

What the NC should also understand is that the team manager and the Zifa offices also need time to contact the players and their clubs in time so that the coach knows who is available and who is not.

We would have thought that the NC are busy with something else, but a look at their mandated Zifa restructuring exercise shows that nothing there too is happening.

Instead, they are on a countrywide merry-go-round randomly distributing football equipment instead of setting up structures at area zone and district level.

Zimbabwe needs to win both matches against the Likuena and Bafana Bafana or at least pick up four points to stay on the road to qualification for the 2026 World Cup.

The Warriors picked up two points in drawn matches against Rwanda and Nigeria but there is a school of thought that believes Zimbabwe could have won against the Super Eagles had they played at the National Sports Stadium.

Zimbabwe played their home game against Nigeria at the Huye Stadium in Rwanda and are also likely to play South Africa in a foreign land as the National Sports Stadium is still not yet ready.

The feeling, however, is that the Warriors should play Bafana Bafana in Francistown, Botswana, rather than give the South Africans the advantage by staging their game in that country.

The issue of stadiums, though, is another story, but what we hope is that the NC will come to the realisation of the urgency of the immediate appointment of the national coach and swing into action.

What, however, they should be warned against is to come up with a coach similar to Zdravko Logarusic.

*For your views, comments and suggestions mkariati@gmail.com or WhatsApp on 0773 266 779.

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