The Sunday Mail
LEGENDARY former Zimbabwe captain, Moses Chunga, feels that the Warriors’ tattered World Cup qualifying campaign could still be rescued but only if “ZIFA hire the correct human resources to steer the ship’’.
The Warriors have got off to an awful start in their bid for a place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Zdravko “Loga’’ Logausic’s men have managed just a point off their 0-0 home draw with South Africa and 1-0 away loss to Ethiopia in their opening Group G games.
This has left the Warriors anchoring the four-team group standings and three points behind Bafana Bafana ahead of the resumption of the qualifiers on October 9.
Zimbabwe’s poor start has virtually cost Loga his job with the majority in the ZIFA board finally conceding that the Croat does not have the capacity to steer the Warriors to mount a strong challenge in the qualifiers.
The defeat to Ethiopia took Loga’s record to just one win in 14 outings — the worst by any Warriors coach — and sparked a nationwide outcry for the gaffer to be fired.
While there are some who feel Zimbabwe’s World Cup pursuit is virtually over after a poor start, former Warriors assistant coach, Chunga, believes all hope is not lost.
Chunga’s name has also been thrown into the discussion as one of a host of possible successors to Loga, but the Chapungu United gaffer has remained coy about the subject.
Instead, he prefers to put through his argument that the Warriors could yet pull off a Houdini Act and salvage their campaign.
“As a possible successor, umm, I would say God’s time is always great,” Chunga told The Sunday Mail Sport.
Chunga (55) is now based in Gweru where he is in charge of air force side Chapungu, who are targeting a quick return to the Premier Soccer League after they were relegated from the top-flight at the end of the 2019 season.
Although his focus is primarily on assembling a squad that can compete for honours in the Central Region Division One League, Chunga has naturally been following developments in the national team.
He is one of the local coaches who include Norman Mapeza, Joey Antipas, Kalisto Pasuwa, Rodwell Dhlakama, Bongani Mafu and Benjani Mwaruwari, whose names have cropped up in the race to succeed Loga.
Chunga insists Zimbabwe are still in with a “big chance” in the World Cup qualifiers and have the capacity to top Group G and progress to the final qualifying round.
“It’s game on, we can still qualify as long as we do the right thing, tisadyire huroyi kunyara.
“You need the correct human resources (to lead the team) and also a clear plan, whether it’s a short, medium or long term plan,” Chunga said.
Chapungu executive committee sources also indicated that should ZIFA come calling for his services, the airmen would not stand in Chunga’s way.
“As you know ours is an airforce team so we support anything to do with national duty,” said a source within the club.
Chapungu chairman, Bizeki Madzadzure, was, however not reachable for an official comment.
Away from the speculation on the Warriors job and his sentimental belief in their pedigree, Chunga has quietly been readying his soldiers for an onslaught on the Central Region Division One League.
The much travelled gaffer has declared that he is in Gweru to win the championship.
He was appointe d Chapungu head coach in April 2020, but is yet to take charge of his first match, as local football had been suspended due to Covid-19.
In fact, Chunga has not sat in the dugout since December 2016, when he parted ways with Harare City.
He has now been given a new lease of life by the air force side, and the former Dynamos, Gunners, Shabanie Mine and Shooting Stars coach is relishing the opportunity.
“For now I will keep my fingers crossed but my target is to win the Central Region championship.
“What you believe is what you become.
“You can also check my record. I am confident Chapungu can bounce back into the Premiership.”The legendary gaffer, who has spent most of his career coaching in Harare, also spoke about life in the Midlands capital.
“My stay here has been a case of mixed feelings. One day you are happy that football can now resume and then suddenly you are back to square one.
“Life in general has been low, with this demonic virus which has devastated a lot of families. A lot of people have died because of this disease and may their souls rest in peace,” he said.
In a year that Zimbabwe has lost a number of football legends including five-time Soccer Star of the Year George “Mastermind” Shaya, Joe “Kode” Mugabe, Ernest “Maphepha” Sibanda, David “Yogi” Mandigora and Misheck “Scania” Chidzambwa, Chunga bemoaned their deaths and the impact it has on institutional memory of the country’s biggest game.
Although Shaya, who passed away on August 24, was accorded a State assisted funeral, there are some within the football fraternity who feel Zimbabwe’s football legends are not honoured enough when they are still alive.
There are a number of former football greats who have died paupers.
“It’s a sad year for us as we continue to lose a lot of knowledge and wisdom in a very short space of time.
“About the issue of legends being honoured and their legacies being protected, I would like to say I feel we (legends) are found wanting in that area.
“We need to be able to do it for ourselves, we need to honour ourselves because no one can do it for us.
“There are a lot of parasites in this game who want to take advantage of situations, so it could be detrimental if we were to put other people who are not legends at the forefront of this cause.
“I guess we need to sit down with the likes of Peter (Ndlovu), Bruce Grobbelaar, Byron Manuel and all the legends around to discuss these things.
“No one will honour us if we don’t honour ourselves,” Chunga said.