The Sunday Mail
WITH the rigmarole around the Limpopogate match-fixing scandal unfolding, the Warriors troop into camp today to prepare for the back-to-back 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Swaziland.
Even at a time when the integrity of our game and the integrity of our players is being questioned amid startling allegations by a bad guy who has seemingly gone good, we cannot but love our Warriors.
The strip we love the most is the gold and green our boys wear.
It might not have the famous three stripes with the “Impossible is Nothing” catch phrase; it might not have that universally known swoosh of Nike; but it is with the Warriors we identify, sponsor or none.
The latest allegations of match-fixing may have us all downhearted, but as Kallisto Pasuwa and his men get down to work, we dare not lose sight of the bigger picture — football still is beautiful.
And our players should be trusted with defending our flag.
The Group L Afcon qualifiers against Swaziland present the Warriors with a chance to get one hand on the ticket to Gabon 2017.
It gives them a chance to wash the national flag after weeks of watching it being dragged through the mud of corruption and greed.
As a nation we expect — nay, demand — that the Warriors turn Good Friday into Best Friday by beating Swaziland away in Mbabane.
We demand they turn Easter Monday into Excellent Monday by collecting another set of maximum points at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.
As they prepare for the Sihlangu battle, we believe the players have the mental strength required to shut out the world, read Limpopogate, and focus on the job at hand.
It’s difficult especially when your name is Patson Jaure and one of the coaches in camp is a certain Saul Chaminuka, who was quoted as questioning your commitment during the last year’s Cosafa tournament.
Chaminuka claims he was misquoted but it’s not the world he needs to tell that. It’s Jaure.
Thankfully Chaminuka knows it and reveals that he will do so the moment the University of Pretoria defender pitches up.
“I had the option to phone Jaure and set the record straight after the stories that appeared in the papers but I have not done that because I believe the whole issue deserves a face-to-face talk.
“So we will sit down with him when he comes and set the record straight.
He is a player we have enormous confidence in and we will reaffirm that position to him as soon as he arrives,” said Chaminuka.
Jaure’s AmaTuks teammate Washington Arubi is also a man under the spotlight but the former Highlanders and Dynamos goalkeeper should have enough spine to go through the job unperturbed.
Insinuations that the goalkeeper’s boob, which gave Guinea their opener at Rufaro back in September last year, was more than just a mistake are mischievous when not backed by empirical evidence.
It unfolded right before our eyes at Rufaro on September 6.
Danny Phiri’s back pass causing panic in Arubi, the goalie taking a few steps back as the ball bounced and Guinean forward Idrissa Sylla making the most of it with just two minutes on the clock.
It looked like a mistake.
Six months on we still believe it was a mistake — even if Arubi’s name has been mentioned in the match-fixing scandal that has engulfed our land.
All that aside, we raise our flag.
Go Warriors Go!
Goalkeepers: T. Mukuruva , W. Arubi ,D. Bernard
Defenders: P. Jaure, E. Chipeta , C. Nhamoinesu,L. Mhlanga , H. Zvirekwi ,B. Kangwa, O. Bhasera, E. Muroiwa
Midfielders: W. Katsande ,M. Nakamba ,R. Chitiyo, K. Mahachi, M. Mudehwe ,T. Kutinyu, D. Phiri
Strikers: K. Musona, N. Mushekwi ,C. Malajila, K. Billiat, M. Rusike, E. Rusike