. . . For the Warriors, the light faded
TODAY marks exactly three years since Felton Kamambo became the ZIFA president.
He brewed up a shocker to defeat incumbent Philip Chiyangwa and land the biggest post in Zimbabwe football administration.
The anniversary has come at a time Kamambo is on the ropes, after his board was suspended by the Sports Commission for, among other things, failing to discharge their mandate.
Allegations that some female referees were abused, with their protests being ignored by their national football leadership, were part of the charge sheet used to sanction his board.
The SRC have insisted they will not reverse their decision, even if it means Zimbabwe will be suspended from international football by FIFA, for booting out the ZIFA board.
This means Kamambo has become the second ZIFA president, in the past six years, to have his mandate revoked before the expiry of his term of office.
Incredibly, this also means the last two ZIFA bosses, who were elected to serve a full four-year term, didn’t last the distance, as they were kicked out before the end of their mandate.
Cuthbert Dube was forced to step down, in 2015, barely a year after winning a fresh four-year mandate, as ZIFA boss, after a rebellion by the association’s Congress.
While Kamambo will claim he took the Warriors to two AFCON finals, the reality is that the team were already on the verge of qualification, for the 2019 Nations Cup finals, when he took over.
They subsequently won the only remaining match, in their qualifiers, with a routine 2-0 home victory over Congo-Brazzaville, to finally cross the line.
However, the chaos which erupted in Egypt, which was the first major tournament the Warriors played under Kamambo’s leadership, was probably a sign of the strife to come.
They failed to win a match at that AFCON finals, with their 0-4 thrashing at the hands of a DRC team, which they had beaten in Kinshasa in the qualifiers, a signal of the wrong path the team were now taking.
Boardroom battles with the ZIFA leaders, over unfulfilled promises, became the order of the day in Cairo where only the intervention of CAF bosses, prevented the team from boycotting the opening match against Egypt.
Skipper Knowledge Musona has since chronicled all their challenges, during that tour of duty, including days when their meetings went up to about 3am the next morning.
Defender Tendai Darikwa revealed, in conversations with those he trusts, he was reconsidering his future with the Warriors because the current leadership had turned them into a team which can’t punch according to their weight.
He has since excused himself from the 2021 AFCON finals.
Although they qualified for the 2021 Nations Cup finals, it has to be put into context that they won just two games, including one against Botswana, for them to go through.
The 2022 World Cup qualifiers provided a true picture of how the Warriors – who have been under four different coaches since Kamambo took over – have lost their way.
They failed to win any of their six qualifiers, including losing to Ethiopia, who took four points from the Warriors, in their back-to-back battles.
The recruitment of Zdravko Logarusic was a very low point during Kamambo’s time as leader of ZIFA.
That Kamambo struggled, as he told the public that Loga was an experienced gaffer who had somehow coached in four continents in Zimbabwe, provided a sound bite to the tragic comedy which followed.
Twenty four competitive games, for the Warriors, came and went, during Kamambo’s time as ZIFA boss.
They won just FOUR, drew five and lost 15 – not a good record for one marking three years since he took charge.