2011: the good, the bad and the ugly

The good, the bad and the ugly - that is what fans were treated to in the just-ended sporting year, characterised by drama, controversy, triumph and underachievement.

A sporting highlight of the year, Zimbabwe’s win against Bangladesh.
A sporting highlight of the year, Zimbabwe’s win against Bangladesh.

A return to Test cricket was among the highlights of the country’s successes. If the return was good, the first victory was emphatic – 130 runs over tourists, Bangladesh.

The Mighty Warriors added to the success, when they won their biggest accolade to date – the COSAFA Women’s Championships. Their 1-0 victory over perennial rivals South Africa in June is worth celebrating.

In athletics, Stephen Muzhingi continued to fly the national flag high, after he, for the third successive year, became the toast of the Comrades Marathon. The veteran athlete clocked 5hrs 32 sec to become the second athlete to achieve that feat after South African Bruce Fordyce.

Rugby is another sport that headed in the right direction, as the Sables were among the highest movers on the International Rugby Board rankings, closing the year ranked 34th in the world and third in Africa behind South Africa and Morocco.

On the domestic soccer front, Dynamos finally managed to get it right after three seasons of trying. The Harare giants being crowned league and cup double champions reminded their fans of the good old days. That they did so amid internal jostles for power and financial troubles became the cherry on top. Goalkeeper Washington Arubi added to the glamour when he was crowned Soccer Star of the Year last weekend.

The bad

Then came the bad. National football teams conspired to break the hearts of their followers, the Warriors being the biggest flop. For the third time on the trot, Norman Mapeza’s team failed to qualify for the CAF African Nations Cup, their dismal failure coming in an easy group that included Mali, Cape Verde and Liberia.

Chicken Inn players watch as Eric Mudzingwa's header finds the mark past goalkeeper, Liberty Chirava.
Chicken Inn players watch as Eric Mudzingwa’s header finds the mark past goalkeeper, Liberty Chirava.

Junior teams fared no better. The Under 23 side failed to qualify for the 2011 All Africa Games and next year’s Olympics, while their Under 20 counterparts were eliminated in the group stages of the Metropolitan Cosafa Under 20 Championships that ended in Botswana last week.

The ugly

The Asiagate took new twists during the year. A report fingered about 80 players and a number of administrators in the scam. With FIFA intervention, the players’ fate still hangs in the balance.

Crowd misbehaviour also tainted Zimbabwean football giants, Highlanders. The sight of Chicken Inn goalkeeper, Liberty Chirava, writhing on the ground with blood trickling from his forehead was one of the worst in sporting history, while match-fixing scandals involving local referees, officials and some junior teams proved a disappointing conclusion to the year.

Post published in: Cricket

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