Former Zimbabwe international, Tinashe “Father’’ Nengomasha, says Zimbabwe
football is now in the intensive care unit and the nation should unite to find a solution to save its national sport.
He feels the Warriors’ poor showing in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers was just another sign of the decay.
“We are in dire situation as a football nation,” said Nengomasha.
“It will be unfair for me to comment on the defeat to Ghana without looking at the
bigger picture because our football has been suffering for a long time and the question we should all be looking at is, what is causing this malady?
“Our problems are way bigger than the defeats to Ghana and Ethiopia and our
elimination from the World Cup.
“These are just the results of the underlying problem, so, we cannot continue to
address the outward problem without treating the root cause.
“There are too many shortcuts in our football and it’s not sustainable, we need to sit
down as football stakeholders and try to find out if we have the basics in place.”
The Warriors have been in freefall in the last two years, but their woes became more pronounced following a run of one win in 16 games in the last 12 months, leading to their elimination from the Qatar football jamboree.
Before the back-to-back defeats by Ghana, the Warriors had a dismal run under
Croatian Zdravko Logarusic, who set new records for the wrong reasons after winning one game in 14 assignments.
Loga oversaw the opening two games of the World Cup campaign, a draw against South Africa at home, before crashing to a shock 0-1 defeat to Ethiopia.
Mapeza then took over and the Warriors were beaten 1-3 by Ghana away before
succumbing to a 0-1 home loss on Tuesday.
“We need to be realistic at times, as a nation we have too many expectations yet we do not plan for the success,” said Nengomasha.
“The whole World Cup campaign has been shambolic.
“Firstly, how did we end up having a coach like Loga, and entrusting him with our
team, in such an important tournament?
“What is his track record? What is the impact of the psychological dent that he has left on our team?
“Honestly, 14 games and only one win, where does this leave us in terms of mental
“We also need to examine the appointing authority, to understand what exactly they
had seen in him, before making the appointment.”
The former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder called for a complete overhaul of the football
Nengomasha believes the current ZIFA administration has contributed to the failure by the national teams.
“I don’t know how this is possible but our football needs a complete overhaul, from
the top to the bottom,’’ he said.
‘’We need people who understand football in the offices.
“It doesn’t matter whether one is a former player or not. What is key is having officials with a certain level of football understanding so that correct decisions are made.
“Then, the crucial part of it all, are the junior structures in place to support the
“We used to have junior teams and the reserve sides but it’s now history.
“South Africa have the Diski Challenge, and vibrant national age-group teams,
including the one that took part at the recent Olympic Games and now forms a bigger part of their current national team.
“We are always worrying that the coaches have been recycling players in the national team but what is the plan in place to move away from that?
“If I may ask, who is going to be our next big star after Knowledge Musona and Khama Billiat?’’
He feels Jordan Zemura and Kelvin Madzongwe played well.
“I am happy for young Jordan Zemura, and to a certain extent Kelvin Madzongwe,
from the games that I have watched, for both club and country, Zemura is showing the hunger to do well.
“If he continues with such passion in Cameroon, it will not be surprising to see him
moving to a team in the English Premiership after the AFCON tournament.
“We should build our future around such players and invest more in juniors.
“We also need to develop a football identity, as a nation, such that a player that is
picked from a local club fits into the national team, without a problem.
“We still have the AFCON tournament coming up, we need to work with what we have and then probably after the AFCON many things need to be changed.”
The Warriors travelled to Ghana in batches and had to use a commercial flight, which took them more than 24 hours in transit, while their opponents arrived much earlier, on a charter flight.
In sharp contrast, scores of ZIFA councilors were flown on a chartered flight from
Harare to Cairo for the 2019 AFCON finals.
“Travelling is very key in international football, ’’ said Nengomasha.
“It’s very taxing to travel such a long journey and then play the following day.
“The people at the Ghana Football Association probably understood the demands and they decided to charter a flight for their team.
“It was obvious they had enough time to rest, recover and rehydrate after the first
game and were more energetic than our boys in the return leg.’’