Take a bow Mighty Warriors

For too long soccer-loving Zimbabweans have mourned the countless so-near-and-yet-so-far episodes they have been forced to endure by individual clubs and national teams.

These include the Young Warriors scooping silver at the 1995 All-Africa Games and making qualification to two other editions, The Warriors winning some Cosafa Cup trophies but making a big mess of each of their qualification to two editions of the Africa Cup of Nations, Blackpool reaching the semi-finals of the then Africa Cup of Cup Winners in 1994 and Dynamos storming the final of the Caf Champions League.  But the Mighty Warriors have always carried the nation’s hopes.

For years, they have been able to bring back the cheers when tears seemed the order of the day in Zimbabwean football. Under different coaches and different administrators, the ladies have been able to navigate what has to men remained a system that can simply not be circumnavigated.

On most of those occasions, the ladies have chosen a time when the nation has been at its lowest point to pick us up and make us believe in the dream again.

Cup triumph
Flashback to 2011, when the men’s senior national team failed to proceed to the 2012 African Cup of Nations finals from a seemingly easy group. At the back of the nation’s heartbreak, the Mighty Warriors wiped away all the tears. Having themselves failed to qualify for the London Olympic Games, they came on a rebound and triumphed in the COSAFA Cup and made qualification to the Maputo All-Africa Games, ending the year as arguably the country’s best performing soccer team.

Today, when the Warriors are banned from World Cup participation (not that anyone had hope they would make it there), when the head of former Zifa President, Cuthbert Dube, is metaphorically still rolling on the floor, the Mighty Warriors have brought us back to our feet and made us believe again.

Very few (and I am not one of them) would take the suicidal pill and go on to declare that Zimbabwe will beat the likes of China, USA and hosts Brazil to win Gold, but the mere thought of our very own soccer team being part of the spectacle is enough to keep us hoping. After all, it is HOPE that should keep us alive, isn’t it?

The Mighty Warriors have a very big challenge blocking their path to Rio glory and its name is Zifa, but – at least till the next heartbreak – we will beat our drums, blow our trumpets and raise all the dust as we dance and celebrate that we have made it to the soccer realm of the Olympic Games.
Take a bow Mighty Warriors!

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