What next with Young Warriors?

The Young Warriors ,  seen here lining up before their first leg tie against Cameroon at Rufaro recently, have raised the nation’s spirits. Where do they go from here?

The Young Warriors , seen here lining up before their first leg tie against Cameroon at Rufaro recently, have raised the nation’s spirits. Where do they go from here?

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THE Young Warriors are going to the African Games.

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So far so good!

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Kallisto Pasuwa and his green horns successfully fought against Cameroon as well as some poor administration to grab the ticket to Congo Brazzaville.

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The Class of 2015 joins the one that was captained by Ian Matondo in 1991 and the 1995 one skippered by Vusi Laher in taking their pride of place at the games that were formerly known as the All-Africa Games.

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So far so good!

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However, amid the celebrations there is a real danger that these Young Warriors will end up where the other talented groups before them went.

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Nowhere!

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There is also a worry that the starlets will be rushed into becoming full-fledged Warriors as suddenly everyone is talking of them taking the next step following the heroics of Yaoundé.

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Suddenly everyone wants to be associated with Pasuwa and his rookies.

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Success has many parents, failure the butt-exposed orphan!

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Skipper Wisdom Mutasa and his lieutenants were surprised to see scores of people lining up to welcome them at the Harare International Airport upon their return early Tuesday morning.

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The ever evasive Zifa chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze, was also at the airport and soaked in the atmosphere before stammering through an impromptu speech.

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“These boys succeeded in a country where even the famed Dream Team failed. We are proud of them and will strive to ensure that this team is kept intact,” Mashingaidze said.

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Mashingaidze’s godfather and the man responsible for most of the mess our game is in also waxed lyrical in the wake of the Young Warriors’ success.

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“We would like to congratulate the Under-23 national team for a heroic showing that ensured that we qualify for the Africa Games. As an association we take pride in the devotion proven by the Young Warriors to emerge victorious even in the face of several crippling factors. Our football can be breathtaking once again if all of us can emulate the devotion we have seen in the crop of players and the technical team,” Cuthbert Dube told the Zifa website (www.zifa.org ).

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Interestingly, one of the “several crippling factors” that the Young Warriors overcame is Zifa itself.

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Now the pledge to keep a promising team intact has been made before, made by better-run Zifa administrations. It’s something that also excites fans who believe that success at the Under-23 level can, in an instant, translate into good, jolly days with the Warriors. Alois Bunjira, a member of the Class of 1995 that agonisingly came close to winning the AAG gold, warns that amid our celebrations, the temptation to overplay the Young Warriors’ success has to be guarded against.

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“What the Young Warriors did in Cameroon is a mini success, they now have to go to Congo and do well in the tournament. The good players will always graduate into the senior team,” he said.

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“A player who is 22 years old and eligible for Under-23 may not be better than a 23-year-old who could not make it into that squad because of age. One good example is (Godknows) Murwira from Dynamos, we cannot say Blessing Moyo is now the Zimbabwe right back when Murwira is the right back at his club and a much more accomplished player. I think we really need to be very careful on how to handle the excitement of qualifying for the African Games.”

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