Heart­break for Chako­roma

The Manica Post - - Front Page - Ray Bande Se­nior Sports Re­porter

THE Sun­day Chidzambwa-led tech­ni­cal de­part­ment con­spired to dis­ap­point when they side­lined a num­ber of key play­ers who did the na­tion proud in the just-ended COSAFA con­test in South Africa, a de­ci­sion that back­fired as the War­riors ended up suc­cumb­ing to Namibia and made his­tory all for the wrong rea­sons.

Zim­babwe had since the in­au­gu­ral edi­tion of the CHAN tour­na­ment in Cote d’Ivoire in 2009 con­sec­u­tively qual­i­fied for the fi­nals.

But on Sun­day at Na­tional Sports Sta­dium, the War­riors were elim­i­nated out of the CHAN tour­na­ment for the first time.

Zim­babwe turned on a pa­thetic show and sud­denly be­came a pale shadow of that de­ter­mined out­fit that won the COSAFA Cas­tle Cup.

Sakubva-born Ngezi Plat­inum player, Lib­erty Chako­roma, one of the key play­ers who played a piv­otal role in the COSAFA Cas­tle Cup, was part of a list of play­ers who were sur­pris­ingly side­lined against Namibia.

The for­mer Buf­faloes de­fen­sive mid­fielder said it pained him watch­ing the War­riors mis­er­ably fall out of the CHAN tour­na­ment.

Chako­roma reck­ons that the CHAN tour­na­ment was cru­cial for lo­cal based play­ers as it pre­sented them with a plat­form to mar­ket their tal­ents to bet­ter leagues across and beyond the con­ti­nent.

“It was painful to watch Zim­babwe be­ing booted out of the CHAN tour­na­ment. I can­not com­ment on the play­ers se­lected for the as­sign­ment, but I was heart­bro­ken.

“One thing that hurt the most is the idea that the CHAN tour­na­ment fi­nal could have been an­other plat­form for lo­cally based play­ers to mar­ket their tal­ents and play in bet­ter leagues,” said the for­mer La Sakubva player.

Pun­dits have asked a lot of ques­tions that the tech­ni­cal de­part­ment may not ever live to an­swer sat­is­fac­to­rily.

If Jimmy Tigere and Chako­roma who had a fine COSAFA tour­na­ment, play­ing in every minute of the com­pe­ti­tion, were good enough to travel to South Africa along­side the likes of Ovidy Karuru and Eric Chipeta, how could they turn so bad a few days later to fail to even make it on the bench among a side made of their Pre­mier­ship peers?

Bless­ing Ma­jarira might be play­ing in the North­ern Re­gion Divi­sion One League with Herentals, but the striker showed his po­ten­tial when scor­ing in one of the two games he fea­tured in South Africa and on cur­rent form, was he not a bet­ter op­tion in at­tack that was un­der pres­sure to find goals?

Was there need to bring on Black Rhi­nos’ Her­bert Ru­sawo when the goal­keep­ing area had never been a prob­lem for the War­riors at the COSAFA tour­na­ment and Ngezi Plat­inum’s Tak­abva Mawaya had even started in the 6-0 thrash­ing of Sey­chelles?

Was there need to change the cen­tre back part­ner­ship of Bruce Homora and Tigere that was so out­stand­ing in the fi­nal against Zam­bia and neu­tralised the threat posed by Chipolopolo’s Brian Mwila and Justin Shonga?

Many more ques­tions could be asked, but at the end of the day, the big ques­tion re­mains, why did we change a win­ning team?

Lib­erty Chako­roma (pic­tured here with his man­ager, James ' Hwetu' Meya) was one of the play­ers the War­riors badly missed against Namibia at Na­tional Sports Sta­dium last Sun­day

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