BY MICHAEL KARIATI
Week in and week out Zimbabwean football continues to be dogged by questionable decisions off the field of play with no solution in sight.
The latest being the surprise, if not shock decision by Zifa to throw FC Platinum and Black Rhinos Queens into Pan-African football competition when there is no football at all being played in the country.
Logic dictates that it does not make any sense — at this moment — for our clubs to take part in African football, but Zifa sees it otherwise and have thrown FC Platinum into the Caf Champions League and Black Rhinos Queens into the Women’s Caf Champions League.
It does not need a rocket scientist or a soothsayer to tell that our clubs are not ready for the big CAF Champions League stage due to their lengthy absence from the field.
The question is: What exactly does Zifa expect from teams, which have not been active for close to two years?
How can we have teams in international football competitions whose players are not sure of themselves because their minds are not set right for the highest stage?
Aren’t we sending them for slaughter like the chickens as they say in English? Or, aren’t we throwing them in the African football’s Lions Den where unlike the biblical Daniel, they are going to be eaten up and spit out of the tournament ?
Surely, everything is pointing to a slaughter considering the fact that Chipembere and Kugona Kunenge Kudada are in the same position the Warriors were in when they brought shame to Zimbabwe at Chan and the Cosafa Cup.
Even right now, Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic still maintains that there was nothing he could have done at Chan and at the Cosafa Cup with a group of players, who had not kicked a ball for some time.
The pride of the nation was battered through those Warriors and what the nation is worried about is Rhinos being humiliated in the first ever Women’s Caf Champions League which would send the wrong signal about women’s club football in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe cannot also risk losing the reputation the country has built in the Caf Champions League in which our clubs have consistently reached the mini-League stage in a tournament that symbolises continental football supremacy.
The reason why FC Platinum did not do well in the last Caf Champions League edition was not that the team was not good enough, but that they were rusty having gone for a year or so without competitive action.
Whatever happens on the field of play, Rhinos and Platinum will not be to blame in case of humiliation but those who accepted the invitation to participate under the current conditions.
Participation in the Caf Champions League and the Caf Confederation Cup is not mandatory and what Zifa should have done was to turn down the invitation until our football was up and running.
The message is clear that between now and 2022, we should be channelling our energies on getting our domestic football back on its feet before dreaming of Pan-African club competitions.
The Warriors will obviously play in the World Cup qualifiers and at the Nations Cup finals because the team is made up of players in Europe and South Africa where the game is active.
Right now nobody knows which criteria was used to pick on Black Rhinos Queens and FC Platinum for Africa when football in this country was last heard of two years ago.
It does not make sense to make decisions just to be seen to be doing something but to make decisions, which are serious and for the good of our football.
A stronger domestic league will bear stronger teams for African football since they say, Charity Begins At Home. — At the moment Caf competitions can wait until our clubs are ready for the big stage.
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