15 August 2016
THE Mighty Warriorsâ€™ journey to the Olympics in Rio was the worst by any participant at the global showcase.
Our senior national women soccer team was virtually abandoned by the then Cuthbert Dube led Zifa board.
While the Mighty Warriors would be grateful that at least they were registered to participate in the qualifiers, things got terrible as the Zifa board was split into two factions.
Then women football boss, Miriam Sibanda was on the faction that was against Dube, no doubt the worst ever Zifa president in history, and the consequence of that was her suspension.
From then on, then chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze made sure her life and womenâ€™s football became hell.
Even where there were reports of a Fifa grant for womenâ€™s football, it never got to the women and was abused by the men in the Zifa leadership then.
The domestic league virtually collapsed as there was no funding. The Zifa board then failed to send the team to Ivory Coast and, strangely, the team was not kicked out as would have been the case under normal circumstances.
Instead, Ivory Coast were given a 3-0 first leg win and ordered to travel to Harare for the return leg and they refused, contesting the disciplinary procedure.
As a result the Mighty Warriors were declared winners without kick a ball and made it to the final qualifying round where they shocked fancied Cameroon to reach Rio 2016.
But even when they qualified and Zifa were now under Phillip Chiyangwa, the Mighty Warriors remained abandoned.
They never got enough time to be together and prepare for the Olympic Games where they were one of only two finalists there, together with neighbours South Africa.
This meant that they travelled to Brazil without any meaningful preparations, no meaningful warm-up games and were the worst prepared team at the event.
However, despite all this, the team showed passion for the game and managed to score a goal in all three group matches although they lost all.
The sight of the Mighty Warriors wildly celebrating the consolation in the 6-1 loss to Australia in the final game was one of the moments of the Olympics.
The Mighty Warriors had won the hearts of many.
But because they had lost, their journey had ended and they had to return home. However, instead of the heroesâ€™ welcome that Chiyangwa had asked for, the girls were abandoned hours after arrival and since then Zifa have been arguing that it was not their responsibility.
The Zimbabwe Olympic Committee, which took 26 officials to Rio, were responsible for the Mighty Warriors. According to whatâ€™s on the public arena, ZOC neglected the girls and reneged from what they had undertaken to pay the Mighty Warriors for their participation in Rio.
This is not right and hopefully the Sports Commission will get to the bottom of the saga and sanction all those in the wrong!