The Sunday Mail
FIRST I would want to apologise sincerely to the nation for the results we got in Rwanda, we also wanted to win and the nation was anticipating that but sadly it didn’t work out well for us.
When we go to work nobody goes with the aim to fail, we all go with the aim of doing well.
Naturally after such a poor outing people talk, they are entitled to talk.
Everybody expected us to win but unfortunately most people don’t look at where we are coming from, how we started the project and what we want to achieve.
I can’t decide my future, whether I continue or I leave, because this one rests with the association, the employer.
They are the ones who make decisions and we have to accept the decisions they make.
However, I feel it is important to highlight some issues that are suddenly being raised in some circles after our disappointing outing in Rwanda.
One such issue has to do with my assistant coaches.
I feel they are getting unfair criticism, they work hard and we have worked well together since the day I was appointed national team coach.
Operating under difficult conditions we managed to qualify for the Chan tournament as well as the Africa Games.
Those achievements show that as a technical team we work well together.
I don’t understand why their credentials are being questioned now, why weren’t they questioned when we were winning?
Maybe we are never supposed to lose but this is football.
As members of the technical team we love our country and would like to see the Warriors doing well.
It is that patriotism that sees us sacrificing a lot, for instance some coaches would have not travelled to Rwanda without a contract but I did.
I travelled because doing the job was certainly more important than the issue of the contract, there was need to concentrate on the job at hand hence I decided to travel without finalising that issue.
Results might have not come our way but we came back home having learnt some valuable lessons, lessons that will make us a better team.
Usually in a match you want to retain possession and search for spaces in the opponent’s defence, and then you want to vary and change to high tempo depending on the situation.
But then in most cases we tended to play with no variation.
However, as the matches progressed you could notice the change and adjustments in our play.
Keeping possession is very important and I would say we did well in that aspect but you can’t just keep possession for the sake of it.
A major lesson we got from there is if you get a chance at such tournaments you have to bury the opponent.
If you look at all our matches we got several chances while the opponents had very few but we would spend the whole day squandering the chances while they buried theirs.
But amid this disappointment we have to look to the future with hope.
We are scheduled to meet with Zifa and as the coach I am ready for whatever decision, the team should always come first.
Warriors coach Kallisto Pasuwa was speaking to The Sunday Mail’s Ishemunyoro Chingwere in Harare on Friday 29 January, 2016.
Blame the strikers says Mutuma
WARRIORS’ striker Rodreck Mutuma says the team’s forwards let the nation down in Rwanda.
The striking quartet of Mutuma, vice captain Knox Mutizwa, Edmore Chirambadare and Francesco Zekumbawire took turns to miss sitters as Zimbabwe bowed out of the Chan tournament with just a point in the bag.
Zimbabwe lost by identical score lines of 0-1 to Zambia and Mali before they were held to a 1-1 draw by Uganda in their final group game last Wednesday.
Pasuwa’s one point is the worst record by the Warriors at the Chan finals since the tournament was incepted in 2009.
Sunday Chidzambwa bagged three points at the inaugural Chan tournament hosted by Ivory Coast before Madinda Ndlovu recorded the same number in Sudan two years later.
Ian Gorowa picked five points as the Warriors powered to a historic semi final appearance at the 2014 finals held in South Africa.
The Warriors’ shoddy show in Rubavu has prompted some to question Pasuwa’s tactical nous.
But Mutuma, whose header crashed against the bar in the 0-1 defeat to Mali believes there was nothing Pasuwa could have done when him and his fellow strikers failed to come to the party.
“I have got to be blunt here, we are to blame, period,” he said.
“Do not blame anyone; the strikers let the country down. We got numerous clear cut chances but we failed to score, you can’t blame the coach for that.”
Highlanders’ striker Mutizwa went into the tournament on a high after clinching the 2015 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Golden Boot award with 14 goals but the usually dependable gunslinger was a bundle of nerves.
“I am very devastated, I know as the local league’s top scorer I was supposed to do something but I don’t know what happened.
“The game against Zambia, I should have scored that header…maybe we didn’t have the luck. But to blame coach Pasuwa is a bit unfair.
“Don’t blame the coach, don’t blame lack of preparations or anyone just blame us the players, especially the strikers,” he said.
Warriors captain Hardlife Zvirekwi, the only survivor from the Chan 2014 squad, reckons inexperience and not the coach’s tactics contributed to the team’s demise.
“It was heartbreaking to exit in the first round, you know as much as I do that the whole nation had high hopes. The fans expected us to progress to the latter stages but we disappointed.
“We failed to punish our opponents and yet in such tournaments a single chance can determine the outcome of a game, inexperience cost us.
“There is no need to blame the coach, in fact this should not be a blame game because as much as we might say the strikers failed, we the defenders also went to sleep at crucial moments,” said Zvirekwi.