Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
ZIFA have engaged former national captains to play a key role in motivating the Warriors and ensure they are in the right frame of mind for their final African Cup of Nations qualifier against Congo.
The Warriors host the Red Devils at the National Sports Stadium on March 24.
ZIFA have embraced former players, and their ex-captains, and lured them to come on board, not just for the Warriors showdown with Congo, but on various projects linked to the development of the game.
Board member Sugar Chagonda announced the initiative following a meeting with the pair of Zimbabwe former Warriors captains Ephraim Chawanda and Moses Chunga in Harare yesterday.
The ZIFA board member, in charge of marketing, revealed that their engagement would include former captains among them, Misheck Chidzambwa, Peter Ndlovu, Ephert Lungu, John Phiri, Benjani Mwaruwari and Norman Mapeza.
“In line with our thinking and vision as ZIFA, we strongly believe that there is no way we can run ZIFA without the input of one of the critical stakeholders — the former players.
“When you look at our CVs as administrators, they are not as rich as that of former captains like Sunday Chidzambwa, Ephert Lungu, Moses Chunga or Ephraim Chawanda.
“These guys have seen a lot that we have not seen in this game and we need to tap into that.
“It is strange that Bambo is recognised more in Belgium than back home, the same with Ephraim Chawanda, yet they were such an inspiration to many during their playing days and they were a unifying factor.
“There could be some differences in the country when it comes to politics or religion but there are no divisions on the national flag so all stakeholders have a role to play and we are reaching out to them,’’ said Chagonda.
He said said apart from inviting the former captains to come and watch the showdown, and also roping the likes of Chunga and Chawanda to add their voices of motivation, ZIFA were pulling all the stops to ensure the Warriors were adequately prepared for the showdown with the Red Devils. Chunga who wore the armband on the day the Red devils broke the Warriors hearts with a last gasp 1-1 draw at the National Sports stadium in 1991, welcomed the gesture by the Warriors.
“This is a very welcome gesture by Sugar Chagonda because I believe that we are ambassadors of the country wherever we go,’’ said Chunga.
“We do not intend to put too much pressure on the current players, maybe, just share lunch with them and show them our support,’’ Chunga said.
Chawanda, who was the skipper of the famed Dream Team, also paid tribute to Chagonda for his initiative.
“I would like to thank Sugar for the initiative,’’ he said.
“Today I was at ZIFA House for the first time in 30 years yet it pained me to note that I am always welcomed at SAFA House or at the Botswana Football Association but I am not a South African or a Tswana.
“Moses and myself are hoping that the current players will finish things that we failed to finish during our time, things like qualifying for the World Cup and the AFCON.
“Meeting with the players will be a great opportunity but we also have to understand that the coach must run his camp with this team.’’