By Trevor Makonyonga
It was a week full of news in Zimbabwean Football as the nation lost one of its most decorated players George Shaya and also the announcement of Benjani Mwaruwari as assistant coach of the senior national team. It came as an ultimate shock in the same mode as the return of Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United.
What was even more interesting is how ZIFA trivialised this appointment and made it seem as if they were satisfied with the 2021 results. This reinforcement of the technical team seems to have a hidden but clear agenda of possibly setting Benjani up for the main job in that team.
This is what ZIFA said in their statement that shows that something is cooking at the Warriors, “The Executive Committee received a progress report from the Technical and Development Committee with regards to all matches played in 2021. The Exco resolved that the technical teams will remain unchanged. The Exco further resolved to augment the Warriors’ technical team by appointing Benjani Mwaruwari as an Assistant Coach. The appointment is with immediate effect.”
The above statement is like an oxymoron in its making. There you have ZIFA saying they are not changing the outlook of the national team yet they add Benjani, a UEFA A holder, as an assistant to Zdravko Logarusic who is small in football stature and not as qualified. It is almost clear what is going on there.
Another story of the week, that is not divorced to Banjani’s appointment, was the World Cup qualifiers team announcement.
It was disheartening to see that local based players who would have deserved to play for the country have been sidelined because of the absence of league football.
One would have expected to see the country’s football governing board do something other than noting “with concern” the current state of football.
In the executive committees deliberation, ZIFA seems to be now waiting on government’s COVID-19 mitigation changes rather than try and come up with solutions to ensure the resumption of football.
This is what ZIFA said; “The Executive Committee deliberated on the current state of football and noted with concern that football has not been played for a long time but acknowledges various challenges posed by the covid-19 pandemic. However, ZIFA will play its active role to encourage all stakeholders to get vaccinated. The Association will apply for the resumption of football to the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) should there be any changes in government’s COVID-19 mitigation policies.”
With this in mind, it means that football still has a long time to restart. This also means that, if the England based players are not released, Zimbabwe is going to rely on active footballers playing in Zambia and South Africa which is going to be embarrassing considering that there could have been local based players being looked at.
With the lack of local football in mind, it would only be that instead of moving forward, the country is regressing. There is serious need to start deliberating on progressive issues in that ZIFA Exco rather than just sweepingly saying that, “the Association will apply for the resumption of football to the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) should there be any changes in government’s COVID-19 mitigation policies.”
Move towards making the government understand rather than wait to being dictated to. The same way ZIFA owned the appointment of Benjani is the same way they should own the resumption of football and the overdue firing of Logarusic.
This ZIFA board has to desist from trying to thrive on pity and do the work they are in office for. Maybe something positive will come through in the last phase of their term in office.
Benjani to take over from Loga?
By Trevor Makonyonga