Warriors: Our time is NOW!

Our time is now! As the Zimbabwe national team goes into battle with Tanzania at the weekend, soccer lovers will obviously be wishing for the best.

Ian Gorowa
Ian Gorowa

Ian Gorowa’s boys have already revived the nation’s taste buds with their recent good results. A good run of form in friendly games and qualifiers for the African Nations Championships, where Zimbabwe reached the semi-finals, brought back happy memories of Reinhardt Fabisch’s Dream Team of the 1990s.

Whenever fans taste such success, they want to live it again. So Gorowa and team are now under obligation to make sure that purple patch is maintained.

Nigeria, Cameroon and Egypt have for decades shown that, with proper foundation and shrewd administration, the kind of talent Zimbabwe has can pen pages in a history of success.

The Warriors’ bid to build status as one of Africa’s football powerhouses, while somewhat consistent at regional level, has come unstuck continentally. Fabisch’s team jolted the world to stand up and take a look, with victories over such giants like Cameroon, Egypt and Togo, but that did not last, as squabbles at Zifa put paid to the nation’s hopes.

What followed were sparks of an upward trend in qualification for the 2004 and 2006 Afcon finals under Sunday Chidzambga and Charles Mhlauri respectively. Each of those episodes however, showed that The Warriors had just flattered to deceive the nation, as they bombed out in the first round of both tournaments.

Gorowa’s outstanding display at the Chan has revived belief that all is not lost in Zimbabwean football, despite Zifa still continuing to bungle.

So, when the senior men’s national team marches onto the turf in the two-legged tie against the East Africans that begins this weekend, every national will be hoping to power through to the last qualifying round against either Mozambique or South Sudan. A win would take Zimbabwe into Group F, where they would meet Zambia, Cape Verde and Niger.

From there, a round-robin format will drive the winner and runner-up straight to Morocco for the 2015 qualifiers.

Gorowa has put his faith on the local-based players, but also included in-form foreign-based players like goalkeeper Washington Arubi, strikers Cuthbert Malajila, Kingston Nkhatha and Simba Sithole, who all ply their trade in neighbouring South Africa.

The group stages will start in September, so should he win the first two qualifiers, Gorowa would have enough time and arsenal to prepare for the group games, as key striker Knowledge Musona and winger Khama Billiat would have recovered from injuries they sustained in the Absa Premiership.

Zim squad:

George Chigova, Washington Arubi, Munyaradzi Diya, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Eric Chipeta, Partson Jaure, Sydney Linyama, Milton Ncube, Ronald Pfumbidzayi, Willard Katsande, Nqobizitha Masuku, Danny Phiri, Pasca Manhanga, Stephen Alimenda, Peter Moyo, Marshall Mudewe, Talent Chawapihwa, Kuda Mahachi, Tendai Ndoro, Simba Sithole, Kingston Nkhatha, Cuthbert Malajila.

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