The Sunday Mail
Makomborero Mutimukulu Sports Editor
AFTER the judgment handed by Chief Justice Luke Malaba at the Constitutional Court on Friday, one national question was addressed.
However, there is another one that is begging for an answer and it’s not as divisive as politics can be.
It doesn’t even require a full Concourt bench to sit, it just needs team work.
My Lords and Ladies, why are Zimbabwean soccer players born in foreign lands struggling to get passports so that they can play for the Warriors?
“I wish I knew the answer to that question, it also boggles my mind,” said Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare.
Mpandare has for months now been running around trying to secure passports for a group of players that have become known as the British Brigade.
The guy has been shuttling from one office to the other, between Zifa, the Sports and Recreation Commission and the Registrar General, with very little luck.
“It has been a frustrating exercise,” added Mpandare.
“Even the players, who are keen on playing for the Zimbabwean national team, are beginning to wonder if we appreciate the love they have for this beautiful country of ours.
“They are talented soccer players and could have chosen to live comfortably in Europe without worrying about Zimbabwe but because they are patriots, they have made themselves available for national team selection.
“The least we can do is make the process of acquiring passports a bit smoother so that they can come and play for the Warriors.”
It appears as if the need to cross all the tees is making the Zimbabwe national football team poorer and inadvertently aiding any team that crosses paths with the Warriors in the never ending battle for football supremacy.
In other countries, players who are born abroad but are keen on representing their homelands in international football are treated like royalty.
Nigeria moved mountains to get Victor Moses, Ivory Coast went after Wilfred Zaha, to mention just two prominent cases.
But not so for Zimbabwe.
Here, the likes of Tendai Darikwa of Nottingham Forest, Bradford City’s Adam Chicksen as well the German based forward Kelvin Lunga are being given the full around.
SV Rodinghausen striker Lunga is finding it difficult to get his head around it all.
“I look forward to playing for my country and don’t know why it is so difficult for me to secure a passport. Both my parents are Zimbabwean and that makes me Zimbabwean,” said the 24-year-old son of former Warriors star, Max Lunga Makanza.
“It had always been my wish to play for Zimbabwe just like my dad and I keep praying that things will work out for me and all the other guys.”
Without a Zimbabwean passport, Lunga and the duo of Darikwa and Chicksen, who were included in Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambwa’s provisional squad for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier away in Congo, cannot play for the Warriors.
Yet these passports are issued by a Zimbabwean Government that is alive to the importance of sport, a Government that handed over a diplomatic passport to Kirsty Coventry in recognition of her Olympic heroics.
Someone somewhere, my Lords and Ladies, is sleeping on the wheel!
The SRC has been blamed for not playing ball on this matter but there is growing talk that this one is bigger than the guys who are pretending to be managing affairs at the country’s supreme sports governing body.
There is a feeling that this issue is a national question that can best be answered during a meeting between the Minister Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, his Home Affairs counterpart and Zifa.
Unless the honourable court has specific areas it wants us to address, we have no further submissions my Lords and Ladies.