12 June 2012

Zimbabwe/Mozambique: Is Gumbo Up to the Warriors Task?

Photo: Confederation of African Football.
Warriors bounce back to defeat Burundi

AS the Warriors trot into the National Stadium, Zimpeto, against Mozambique in a 2014 World Cup qualifier later this afternoon, the question that is uppermost on most fans' minds is whether the team's coach Rahman Gumbo has the pedigree to engineer victory.

This question has been lingering in many supporters' minds following the country's 1-0 loss to Guinea in their opening World Cup qualifier match at home last weekend.

The loss was Gumbo's second following the defeat to Burundi in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier since taking over from the suspended Norman Mapeza.However, if events that developed over the past week are anything to go by, then Gumbo is treading in a mine field.

How does one explain the presence of banners clearly written "Mapeza, we miss you" before the match against Guinea in which the Warriors fell to an Ibrahim Traore's first half free kick?

As if that was not enough, the Warriors' preparations for today's tie have been pathetic as they have been characterised by confusion. The national team was locked out of the training venue at the National Sports Stadium allegedly by officials from the Ministry of Public Works. The team's failure to beat Guinea in their own backyard left more questions than answers about Gumbo's suitability for the position.

Veteran soccer commentator Charles Mabika does not believe that the Warriors' situation will be saved by firing Gumbo and his entire team.

"I am not in the habit of blaming coaches though but there are one or two instances that I think the coaches got it wrong against Guinea. Khama was not fit to start in that game and I also think Ovidy Karuru should also have been taken off 10 minutes into the second half. Denver Mukamba is playing very well for Dynamos and should have started the match wide on the right side," he said.

"I have not seen much of Terrence Mandaza and even when he came on I did not see much of him. Maybe Charles Sibanda would have been a better option," he said.

Mabika also added that he does not want to question the commitment of players, but believes that they should have done better.

"Our strikers wasted a lot of chances; maybe it was just lady luck that was not on our side. Above all, I think it will be folly to change coaches. Maybe we should add Norman Mapeza to the technical team," he said.

"I think the combination of Gumbo, David Mandigora and Mapeza will work wonders. Obviously that hinges on Mapeza being cleared by the ethics committee," he said.

Mabika also blamed the authorities for their decision to stick with the National Sports Stadium when the players and the technical team had complained over its unevenness.

Former Warriors coach Joey Antipas however exonerated the technical team of any wrong doing in the game against Guinea.

"The guys played very well, but unfortunately failed to score. There is no need to fire the coaches because we can still qualify. It is unfortunate that we lost at home. However, I do not think that Khama was fit to play the game," he said.

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