HomeSportWarriors need their fans

Warriors need their fans

ON March 30, the Warriors of Zimbabwe will be at the National Sports Stadium playing against Zambia’s Chipolopolo for probably their biggest game on the road to Cameroon Afcon 2021.

BY MICHAEL KARIATI

Yes, the Warriors have fought important battles in both Algiers and Lusaka and will fight another one in Gaborone on March 22, but the one on March 30 is more significant than most.

Not only are the Warriors facing their fiercest Southern African rivals and neighbours for supremacy in the region, but also  this game could be the decider onwhether Zimbabwe qualifies for Cameroon or not.

With two games before the curtain comes down on the qualifiers, the Warriors are on five points, Botswana have four points while Zambia are on three. Algeria, who have already qualified, have 10 points.

Some say if we beat Botswana on March 22 and Zambia lose to Algeria on the same day, we qualify. However, the power of football is in its ability to surprise and the Chipolopolo can overcome the Desert Foxes and push their points tally to six points.

After all, the Desert Foxes do not have much to play for after having already secured qualification and the Zambians are also at home which is to their added advantage.

What more, there is also no guarantee that the Warriors will win in Gaborone after struggling to impose their superiority over the Zebras at the National Sports Stadium and, for that matter, in front of a huge crowd.

So, the game against Zambia looks like the most important and Zimbabwe are lucky that they will be playing at home and should take full advantage of the situation.

It is a matter of debate whether supporters really swing matches in their team’s favour, but there would be nothing wrong for Zifa to apply to Caf to have at least
20 000 or even 25 000 spectators at the National Sports Stadium.

The venue carries 65 000 people and 25 000 can fit into the stadium without much danger of the spread of Covid-19 as long as the coronavirus restrictions are observed.

Although it is still not yet late for Zifa, observers are of the opinion that the national football federation should have applied to Caf long back as matches in some countries are being allowed spectators inside.

There is also no reason why the Zimbabwean government would  object to sanction such a one-off arrangement as other events in the country are gathering huge crowds — albeit unsanctioned.

If the Zifa request is granted by Caf, it would not only be a morale booster for the Warriors of Zimbabwe, but would also help Zifa’s financial coffers which the association claims are empty.

The Warriors fans want to watch their team in action at home again having last watched their beloved Warriors against the Zebras of Botswana at the National Sports Stadium on November 15, 2019.

There is nothing wrong in trying and Zifa have nothing to lose in sending their request to Caf. The request should be sent right now rather than wait until a week or so before the Chipolopolo visit Zimbabwe. If the request is denied, then we live with what is there and support our Warriors from home.

Most of us, however, are hoping that Caf will grant our wish — that is, if Zifa take the advice and plead for fans to gather in the National Sports Stadium on March 30.

  • For your views, comments, and suggestions, email: mkariati@gmail.com or WhatsApp on 0773 266 779.

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