EDITORIAL: Let’s play our March matches at home

OUR Warriors marked their official return to international football with a goalless draw against Rwanda in the East African country on Wednesday.

After a lengthy period on the sidelines, stretching to almost two years, as we served a suspension from FIFA, it felt good to see our boys back in action.

It wasn’t the most attractive of displays by the Warriors but that they managed to grind on and pick up a point was important.

So many things were against them ahead of this match.

They had not played a game together for almost two years and, in a game where rhythm is very important, they were always up against it in Rwanda.

The reason why national teams have to play international friendlies is that these windows, which are set aside by FIFA, provides them with a platform to bond and improve their rhythm.

That we didn’t play even one friendly match meant that our boys were on the back foot, long before they kicked a ball, and it was always going to be difficult for them to really display flowing football.

It didn’t also help our cause that our boys were under a new coach, Baltemar Brito, in this important match.

Virtually all of them didn’t even know how he plays his football, what he demands from his players, the formation he uses, will he prefer them to press or will he prefer them to sit back and soak the pressure?

Brito, too, is also a rookie at this level because this was his first game in charge of a national team in a World Cup qualifier.

He appointed Marvelous Nakamba, one of his players with the biggest profiles, as his captain with Marshall Munetsi coming in as skipper.

For us, the real concern remains this arrangement where the Warriors have to play their home matches away from Zimbabwe.

That is what we will do when we play Nigeria this weekend, with the match being staged in Rwanda, instead of Gwanda.

We feel that this is the only match we should play under this arrangement and the next home match, in March next year, should be played in this country.

We feel that, at this moment, the stadium, which has the best chance of passing the CAF requirements, if we all put our efforts into it, would be the Heart Stadium being built in Waterfalls.

All that will be needed would be to increase its seating capacity to 25000, by building the northern and southern stands, with bucket seats.

If the other key parts of the stadium, which all satisfy the CAF requirements, were built within just two months, by an individual, we think that, as a nation, we can complete this job by February and our boys can play their next match at home in March.

This is about our pride and we feel that the football fans in this country have a right to support their team from ringside seats an d cheer their boys in action at home.

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