The Zimbabwe Warriors bowed out of the Africa Cup of Nations on Monday night. Together with the DRC, they were the only two representatives of the SADC region. Their departure from the tournament in Gabon in the first round ended our hopes as a region. Only two countries – South Africa and Zambia – have ever won the cup. Both did not qualify for Gabon 2017 and it looks as if it will be a long time before we win it again.
After they bowed out, the Warriors endured a lot of criticism from fans across the world. They were accused of lacking patriotism, being greedy and demanding hefty bonuses before the tournament, lacking depth and being weak.
Others blame the South African A Premier Soccer League. Our league, they argue, is mediocre as players only come here for the good money.
The criticism is unfair. Players are right to demand bonuses. Football is a short career.
Pertinently, how do we expect football to thrive in Zimbabwe when nothing else does?
Further, one of the stars of Zimbabwe Warriors, Khama Billiat, won the African Champions League with Mamelodi Sundowns, a South African club. Sundowns won almost everything at the CAF Awards.
How soon we forget.