Transparency in the selection of Warriors crucial
FORMER Highlanders and Warriors shot stopper Tapuwa Kapini made an important observation on Tuesday when he questioned the national team’s selection criteria. The Highlands Park goalkeeper in the South African Absa Premiership also accused player agent Gibson Mahachi of having undue influence in the make-up of the senior national team.
Kapini correctly observed that Mahachi’s clients dominate the Warriors, including coach Callisto Pasuwa himself, and what is disturbing are the allegations he further raised, accusing the agent of destroying the national team by pushing for selection of players from his stable.
“Am just asking; is the Zimbabwe national team picked on performance or because Mahachi is your agent,” asked Kapini on his Facebook wall.
He reaffirmed that position in a later interview with
“Mahachi is killing our football,” he said. “Players must and should be selected on present form, not because one belongs to a certain stable. If you check, one of the most consistent goalkeepers (in the Castle Lager Premiership) at the moment Petros Mhari (of FC Platinum) is continuously being overlooked simply because he does not belong to Mahachi’s stable. Surely can we compare Donovan Bernard and even Tatenda Mukuruva to Mhari? God help our football,” said Kapini.
If Kapini’s allegations are correct that for one to stand any chance of donning the senior national team colours, he has to sign with Mahachi’s stable, then our Warriors are headed for doom.
We take umbrage when some people play games with our national team because it is our national pride, our identity and our ambassadors. These people must realise that there are thousands of fans who love their national team to the extent that they fail to eat or socialise when the Warriors lose. They therefore should take great offence, as we do, when agents influence team selection, not the national coach basing his decisions only on current form.
It cannot just be coincidental that eight players from Mahachi’s stable made the Warriors’ squad that played Guinea in the dead rubber final Afcon qualifier in Conakry. The call-up of Ronald Chitiyo as a replacement for FC Platinum’s Marshal Mudewe, who had been injured in a car accident, seems to have raised questions because after all, Chitiyo had recently signed up to Mahachi’s stable.
Highlanders’ midfielder King Nadolo also enjoyed the benefits of joining Mahachi’s camp as he got a call-up for the Cosafa tournament held in Namibia in June soon after signing with the “super agent”.
The eight players on the Mahachi stable who played in Conakry are Tatenda Mukuruva, Blessing Moyo, Tafadzwa Kutinyu, Lawrence Mhlanga, Evans Rusike, Godknows Murwira, Tendai Ndoro and Teenage Hadebe.
If it is true that Mahachi uses the national team as a bait for players to sign with him, then drastic action must be taken. We can’t treat our national team as a cheap marketplace which agents use to get their players deals outside the country. Players must be selected purely on merit and on present form and not past reputation, which team they play for or which stable they belong to.
“Our footballers must be assured that they all stand a fair chance of making it into the national team if they perform well and not because they are in a certain camp.
Zifa should not allow the Warriors to be captured by some clique for illicit private gains. If the cliques really feel strongly about picking players for any games, we urge them to form their own clubs and do as they please, not to privatise and abuse the national team and the millions of Warriors fans in the country and abroad.
Transparency in the selection process is needed and very clear conflict of interest rules must also be put in place to safeguard and prevent our national teams from being owned by some individuals.
We have enough problems in our football and can’t let them spiral out of control by allowing one stable to indulge in favouritism by choosing their players as a reward for signing up or being left out for belonging to a rival stable.
This weighs negatively on hardworking players’ morale and confidence and it must irk them that they get continuously overlooked, while others are always being given a chance even when their form is abysmal.
The criteria of selection should be performance-based and performance alone. Also, selection of national teams should be left to the technical staff and them alone in a fair and transparent manner, and not some individuals that will not share in the responsibility of failure.