As the Warriors head back home today after yet another failed COSAFA Castle Cup campaign, their coach Callisto Pasuwa wants the National Football Association of Zimbabwe to draw positives from the team’s overall showing
Warriors’ skipper Willard Katsande also echoed his coach’s sentiments. Despite thumping Seychelles 50 on Wednesday night, the Warriors were eliminated from the tournament at the preliminary group stage. With the Plate semifinals only reserved for teams that would have been knocked out at the quarterfinal stage, the Warriors’ secondplace finish behind Swaziland was not good enough to retain their interests in this competition.
We had obviously wanted to go on to win this Cup but, unfortunately, we are out,” said Pasuwa. “Although the result is disappointing, I am happy with the progress I have been seeing from this project. We said we would use more Under23 players and I think it is paying off for us. “We should keep the bulk of this team and even though we haven’t won a tournament yet one can see that it is from this team where we also got some of the players that we have fused into the AFCON team.
“We need players for the future and we will have more competitions and this is the base we should be drawing from. “Of course, it is not nice to fail at the group stage but people should not judge them harshly because I think they have been learning their lessons well. When we played Swaziland we struggled with our game. “Then against Madagascar I think they did everything but could not score.
” Pasuwa argued that the kind of continuity he was advocating for had also been showing in teams such as Swaziland and Malawi. Sihlangu brought to Windhoek the Nations Cup side that played against the Warriors during the Easter weekend, forcing a draw in Mbabane on Good Friday before succumbing to a 40 hiding at the National Sports Stadium on Easter Monday
Although they face a tough task against Chipolopolo, Sihlangu are poised to advance in the COSAFA Castle Cup and Pasuwa reckoned they showed character when edging Madagascar 10 to clinch the Group A ticket here
When you look at Swaziland and Malawi they have kept the same teams and it is helping them here and it shows that we are also on the right track because we are keeping faith in the bulk of our Under23 players. “I watched the video of the match between Swaziland and Madagascar after our game with Seychelles and it was a tough one but Swaziland got just that once chance and they took it,” said Pasuwa. Katsande also threw his weight behind the COSAFA Cup squad.
The Kaizer Chiefs midfield hardman had to watch the COSAFA games on television as the coach opted to use his homebased colleagues who were under the captaincy of Danny Phiri. “I was following the team at the COSAFA and I think they played well but against Madagascar they should have buried one or two from all those many chances and I think we would have been talking of a different story now. “I think what is important now is that we should keep them together so that they get to understand each other better,’’ Katsande said. While Pasuwa and Katsande have backed the locallybased players who only had Jomo Cosmos striker Charlton Mashumba as the only foreignbased star, the NAFAZ leadership would also need to do more to motivate the homegrown talent for such competitions. It also emerged that the Warriors who travelled here struggled for motivation amid concerns that the administration appears to only pay better attention to the Nations Cup side that has a galaxy of stars drawn from foreign clubs. Pasuwa admitted he had a tough time trying to motivate the players.
“It has been a tough job here because some of these players are now threatening to snub the national team and prefer to stay at their clubs where they are guaranteed some payment rather than these tournaments where the locals do not get anything. “This is one area that we would need to look at so that the local players do not feel discriminated. “We do have some who are in the AFCON squad and they get surprised that the treatment seems to change when they are playing in the CHAN squad or COSAFA squad with other locals,’’ Pasuwa said.