Asia-gate ghost to haunt Zim soccer?

Football pundits say it would take a miracle for the national team to shake-off the “Asiagate” ghost.

Rahman Gumbo
Rahman Gumbo

The embarrassing match-fixing scandal has continued to drive the country’s soccer to the abyss, with recent suspensions of players and officials pin-pointed likely to cost The Warriors a place in next year’s Afcon finals in neighbouring South Africa.

Zimbabwe missed out on the last two editions, and they bowed out in the first round of the only two finals they made appearances in – 2004 and 2006. After a recent loss to lowly-ranked Burundi in an Afcon qualifying match, pundits were left wondering if the more than 80 suspended players would not be missed going forward. While an aggregate win over Burundi looks within reach, it is passing through the more taxing group stage of the competition that sends goose bumps.

“We are now witnessing the ghost of the Asiagate scandal and players’ confidence is very low now. We need a very good psychiatrist to help the players regain their confidence,” said soccer analyst, Godknows Zururu.

After the suspension of the players and members of the technical team, celebrated coach, Rahman Gumbo, was put in an interim role days before the away fixture in Burundi, taking with him old horses and a makeshift team to the 2-1 loss.

Meanwhile, former Highlanders and under 23 defender, Thubelihle Ncube, said the suspensions were too harsh and would kill the country’s football.

He said that some of the players could have been warned and allowed to continue to represent the national team.

“With this kind of action, we can only dream about major competitions. We will continue to fail until those players are brought back and ZIFA will realize it late,” said Ncube.

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