Hope Chizuzu, Sports Reporter
Despite barely managing to train, prepare, load and reload players, improvise and test tactics, Warriors coach Norman Mapeza, remain focused on the match against Ghana tomorrow in this Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifier at Cape Coast Stadium.
The kick off is at 1800hrs (Zim time). The Warriors struggled to find proper training pitches on Wednesday and Thursday, forcing the technical team to just do enough to put the players into the mood and attitude for the game at laughable venues.
“We just have to manage the situations that we have. We have not been able to train as we had planned and we also have new players in our squad, whom we require time to assess.
“The fact that they have come from elsewhere is a good commitment by them, so as coaches we need to manage them and also protect them from expectations which is normally associated with new players. Sometimes throwing them into the deep end, may not be the right decision.
“And to make matters worse, the training that normally helps us to assess, plan and decide has not materialised enough as the standard pitches to play our tactics have not been availed. It is just frustrating and disappointing.
“We are not complaining, but that is what it is. We have to play and compete for the badge. This afternoon we will train at the match venue, but you know it is not for long, just an hour, which ideally would be enough if a team would have had training and preparations leading to the day.
‘We have the boys in good mood and attitude, even the new boys have jelled into a unit. Let us see what happens tomorrow but football in Africa is not developing at a good pace for national teams to build strong bases.
“I just don’t know why but as Africa, we need to do more than we have seen in the last decade.
“Some of the things we have seen here does not augur well for national teams, but as Zimbabwe we will do our best, focus and compete in the time available. There is never enough time but we try to manage such situations without losing sight of our goal,” said Mapeza.
Zimbabwe will play back to back against Ghana and this six pointer tomorrow will be played before a small crowd allowed by CAF, following an application. But the return leg on Tuesday at the National Sports Stadium will be without fans as Zimbabwe do not have a homologated stadium.
The team will leave Cape Coast soon after the match arriving home in the early hours of Monday for the Tuesday clash. There won’t be enough time to train again, this time due to logistical problems.
The way the matches are arranged does not suit Africa, where on average, a team requires a minimum of two days travelling from one destination to the other.
Teams that use private planes to matches are the ones that will not suffer the agony of these punishing flying schedules and Covid-19 is not making it any better.
Mapeza, however remained positive that the boys will do a good job.
“They know what is required of them and are aware of the situation on the ground and for us, that is enough motivation,” he added.
Zimbabwe Squad vs Ghana:
Martin Mapisa (Zamora CF), Talbert Shumba (Free State Stars), Washington Arubi (Marumo Gallants)
Alec Mudimu (Torpedo Kutaisi), Brendan Galloway (Pymouth Aygle), Bruce Kangwa (Azam FC), Jordan Zemura (AFC Bournemouth), Onismor Bhasera (SuperSport United), Rahman Kutsanzira (FC Platinum), Teenage Hadebe (Houston Dynamo), Tendayi Darikwa (Wigan)
Blessing Sarupinda (Sekhukhune), Farai Madhanaga (Marumo Gallants), Kelvin Madzongwe (FC Platinum), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Kuda Mahachi (SuperSport), Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims), Never Tigere (Azam), Marvellous Nakamba (Aston Villa), Perfect Chikwende (Simba FC), Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco).
Knowledge Musona (Al Tai), Knox Mutizwa (Golden Arrows), Terrence Dzvukamanja (Orlando Pirates)
- Hope Chizuzu is a investigative journalist based in Harare. He can be contacted on Twitter @Hchizuzu or WhatsApp +263715001628