ZIMBABWE’S elimination from the Africa Cup of Nations tournament on Sunday has torched a storm back home as football stakeholders are not happy with the technical and administrative shortcomings which they blame for the Warriors poor show.
The Warriors crashed out on Sunday night following a 0-4 drubbing by the Democratic Republic of Congo which confined them to bottom of Group A.
Zimbabwe had one of their worst campaigns both on and off the pitch and yesterday football enthusiasts, coaches and administrators had mixed views which include a reshuffle of both the Warriors technical team and the ZIFA office.
Harare-based Mistry Chipere, who is behind a group called Zimbabwe Foreign Legends which has been helping ZIFA track down Zimbabwean talents dotted across the globe, believes the Warriors had a good team but they lost the plot on technical grounds.
Chipere said there should be a reshuffle of the technical team led by Sunday Chidzambwa.
“To be honest, I think we had a fairly good side that could have surprised many but we lacked the technical grip that could have at least swung results in our favour.
“We lost the matches on the scientific part. Our game had no scientific approach in it.
‘‘We prepared the team like we were preparing Highlanders or Dynamos. There was no zonal marking, no set plays and no strategy in the final third.
“Good preparations would have entailed studying Le Havre videos to see how they position Tino Kadewere and how the supplies reach him there and we try and adopt that.
“I was reading that when Liverpool prepared for the return leg against Barcelona, they tried as much as possible to play against a team that resembled Barca at training and it worked . . . this is the science that sadly Mhofu and his assistants have never bothered to work on.
“Ideally, what we need is a European coach, assisted by a local coach, probably we retain Chidzambwa, but finances are always a big challenge to hire an experienced expatriate.
“But if we have a local coach like Mhofu, we should have European backroom staff to avoid biased selection and have them work on our scientific approach which us, as Zimbabwe, don’t bother doing,” said Chipere.
He also questioned the team selection and the coaches’ appreciation of some of the talents in their squad.
“A player like Kelly Lunga impressed against Bayern Munich, a top team in the world, but to Zimbabwe he is not good. Admiral Muskwe is a gem at Leicester City, but to Zimbabwe he is not good. Tino Kadewere is a top player in France’s second tier, in Zimbabwe he is not good.
“It simply means we don’t have the right technical department to work with modern football. It’s not a secret Africa is miles behind Europe. Look at Madagascar, they are using lower league players in European leagues with right coaching staff and they are doing well,” said Chipere.
The social media was awash yesterday with stakeholders mainly calling for the axing of the technical team. They also said ZIFA needed a reshuffle after failing to meet the minimum expectations which led to chaos and endless fights in the Warriors camp with players threatening to boycott games demanding their dues.
Former Premiership coach Newsome Mutema yesterday said Zimbabwe were ill-pre-pared for the tournament despite spending several weeks in camp.
Mutema said the technical department should not shoulder the blame alone as ZIFA also needed to take a huge responsibility for the team’s failure. Zimbabwe have now failed to progress from the group stages for the fourth time.
“In the game against DRC, we clearly missed out on the mental part. As a coach you need all your players to be in the right frame of mind to play for you but instead of concentrating on the game, our players were up in arms, complaining about their payments and threatening to boycott the game.
“Firstly, contracts should have been signed before the team left Harare and, secondly, ZIFA should never promise players what they cannot afford to pay. It does affect performance in a big way and I think our administration should do things better.
“Obviously when they return, the first victim will be the technical team. But the question we have to ask is that are there no other critical areas that we should also be attending to?
“The last time when we crashed out in Gabon I remember we had a High Performance Committee but up to now we don’t know what problem they diagnosed and what recommendations were made. Maybe the committee was there just to get rid of coaches then
“So we lack an action plan as a nation. We need an action plan which clearly spells what we need to achieve, let’s say in the next five years, and then work hard to achieve that. Junior development is key in this regard.
“Football these days has become scientific; there are no short-cuts. It’s not just about the 90 minutes that we all get to witness that matters.
‘‘ There are a lot of things that need to be taken care of both technically and administratively,” said Mutema.
He also added that Zimbabwe are failing to invest in the resource people some of whom could even be volunteers around them.
“Some teams carry dieticians, psychologists, match analysts, scouts, statisticians, and all, just to assist the technical team but it looks like we have become a nation that wants to reap where it did not sow.
“Like I said football has become too scientific. It’s unfortunate ZIFA could manage to fly supporters to Egypt but we have technical people and former players who could have helped with analysing the game and even in compiling independent reports which are key for research and for future development.
“It’s sad that our technical team is confined to itself in a small hut yet they are wor
king on a national assignment.
‘‘There are technical people out there who can even volunteer services to take notes and even attend to some national teams training sessions and games and noting how they are doing it,” said Mutema.