Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor—
PROPHET Walter Magaya says he is driven by a passion to see the Warriors playing at the World Cup finals and his grand mission in football, currently defined by his sponsorship of Premiership newboys Yadah Stars, is to see the country joining the big league of nations at the global showcase. The football-mad prophet told The Herald, in his first in-depth newspaper interview since shepherding his Yadah Stars into the country’s top-flight league, that he was looking beyond the success of his club but playing a very influential role in ultimately helping the Warriors grace the World Cup show.
He said while he was in the process of creating a football club, which could become the biggest in the country with the passage of time and which could attract as many as 60 000 fans to its home matches, his mission remained national and his vision was to see the Warriors finally end their long wait for a dance at the World Cup finals.
“The vision spreads to the national teams, I wish to be part of the national team so that we can compete in one of the World Cups whilst my blood is still ticking,” he said.
“That is my vision.
“We missed the last World Cup when I was inactive in football and because of some issues that were beyond my control but I believe that, maybe, in the next World Cup, I can participate and help my national team qualify for the World Cup.
“Yes, we may not be there in the next few years as a club, but what I know is that my national team will be there and nothing is impossible with God. Even if Yadah FC might not exist in the next few years, or will be existing, I don’t know with God, but my national teams will be there and I want to lift the flag of my country.
“Whether it’s our women soccer (team), male soccer or Yadah FC, all these teams, I’m rallying behind them seriously and I want all the teams to succeed. It’s not about Yadah FC, it’s about Zimbabwe, that’s my main aim.”
Magaya says he feels Zimbabwe is blessed with abundant football talent that is not being tapped to make the competitive national teams that can fly the country’s flag with distinction.
“I feel we have a vast deposit of talent in Zimbabwe but we are not really looking at all corners so that we place the best at all positions,” he said.
‘’If you are talking of a national team, you don’t compromise and place the second best, you need to put in the very best, whether it’s netball, basketball, we are talking of a national flag now, we are talking of one who has the ability and great character and those two must mix.
‘’Our challenge, which I’m seeing, is that we are looking at some people who are at the peak at some time or some clubs who have won the championships and we are not looking deep, going to every club and finding the best from every club and so we are not gathering a national team.” Magaya said things need to change, going forward, so that only the best possible players who can represent the country would be picked and those players don’t necessarily come from the traditional heavyweights, in terms of clubs, who dominate the domestic landscape but could be plucked from the remotest areas of the country. He says he believes he was not only a good midfielder, during his school days, who could have made a difference if he had been spotted with his talent being developed but he was also a very good rugby player and cricketer but his talents went down the drain.
Thousands, if not millions of talented athletes, he said, were facing the same predicament which haunted him and their talent might never be showcased even when they are far better than those who are currently enjoying the limelight in this country.
Magaya feels the Warriors had a chance to make a huge statement at the 2017 Nations Cup finals in Gabon but came short because of a number of issues, primarily how their technical team went about its business.
“To be honest with you, I wasn’t happy with Callisto Pasuwa (the coach who led the Warriors in Gabon). I felt Callisto Pasuwa was not willing to listen to other ideas,” he said.
“I met Callisto Pasuwa two times or three times and when I spoke with him I could tell he didn’t want to listen to others.’’
Magaya said he will always question why Pasuwa carried central defender Elisha Muroiwa, who had struggled with injuries for the better part of last season, decided not to give Oscar Machapa even a minute in Gabon, when his physique was needed to match the bigger opponents and why some players appeared to be played out of position.
He said any team that had the talents of Khama Billiant, Knowledge Musona and Kuda Mahachi should have done more than just a first round exit at the 2017 Nations Cup finals.
“I like a coach who can nurture any player, who can relate to any player and who can make players play to a certain level in their best positions and not a coach who gets personal with players,” said Magaya.
“Looking at AFCON, I’m 100 percent (sure) that when we played Senegal and the other teams, some other opponents, they brought their five six technical advisers to watch how we play, what is our weakness, what is our strength but look at us, how many technical advisers went to AFCON and you will see there was no one and this is a technical game.
“This is a mind game and in all these games the mind plays 90 percent more than anything else and, in these games, our technical teams need to be improved, our administration need to be improved when it comes to the managers of the real sport that is on the pitch and if that is improved I can tell you that we have vast talent here and we can do wonders.
‘’I feel there has been too much juju in our sport, I feel people believe in juju than God and I’m also trying to bring another angle that God can intervene in any sport that you would be doing and sport can be played clean and I’m trying to clean our sport as well, that there is good sportsmanship that I also can bring in.
‘’I feel like the most talented people didn’t make it because their character was wrong and when I bring my side of Christianity, when I bring my side of prophetic, I specialise in changing character, I specialise in giving someone an ability that they don’t have, any ability of mixing talent and character.
“And you can tell that the best players don’t go beyond their best levels because of issues like, maybe, drinking alcohol or doping or other things that end up affecting their nerves and when I come in as a Man of God my main is to clean all those things and encourage the young men to do sport as sport and not to mix it with other things. ‘’My prayer right now, and my dream, if anyone asks me, I wish to be the technical adviser of my national team.’’