AGAINST all expectations, Zimbabwe’s female football national team, the Mighty Warriors, were beaten by Zambia and are out of the African Women’s Cup of Nations (AFWCON).
The Mighty Warriors had won in Zambia and with the advantage of an away goal and playing at home, it was expected that they would win, but this did not happen.
While questions will be thrown to the technical team, the reality is that the Mighty Warriors have been working miracles for a long time and at some point, their luck was bound to run out.
Preparations for the Mighty Warriors’ games have often been shambolic, disjointed and farcical.
Zifa have literally not been bothered by the Mighty Warriors, meaning each time they went for assignments, they were ill-prepared and playing with one foot tied behind their backs so to speak.
Countless times they have not been paid and whenever Zifa feel generous enough, the payments have been insults and this, no doubt, dampens the morale in the camp.
There were reports that, at some point, the girls were each given $5 after winning a qualifying match against Namibia, and there is no way they could have delivered when the odds were stacked against them.
If Zifa treated these brave women fairly, maybe they would have strolled over Zambia, but the reality is they have been treated unfairly and as second-class citizens, yet they are expected to continue churning out results.
The failure by the Mighty Warriors to qualify for AFWCON is clearly Zifa’s fault and the football governing body should shoulder the blame.
Zifa should now introspect and realise how badly they have treated the Mighty Warriors and try to come up with measures that will ensure this will not happen.
Predictably, Zifa will claim there is lack of corporate support for women’s football, but this is a result of how badly the football governing body has been in administering football, that sponsors have kept their distance.
Zifa need to get their house in order, look for meaningful sponsorship for the Mighty Warriors and only then can Zimbabwe be the global football powerhouse that it is meant to be.
The Mighty Warriors’ qualification for the Olympics two years ago was supposed to signal better times for women’s football in this country, but, instead, the sporting code has regressed and not before long, it would totally collapse if something is not done urgently.
Zifa have been treating the Mighty Warriors badly for several years, there is need for a change of attitude.