HARARE – The Warriors’ participation at the 2021 Chan finals looks doomed due to the lack of domestic football for the past six months. This has left the team’s captain Partson Jaure a worried man.
This comes as the government together with the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) are yet to come up with a concrete plan to ensure the domestic season finally kicks off during this coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Local football has been in hibernation since March after the government imposed nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of the novel virus.
In order for the game to finally commence, the Sports ministry has to give a green light to Zifa’s return to play protocols.
The matter has taken a complicated turn after Sports minister Kirsty Coventry earlier this week suggested that a “bio-secure” bubble concept needs to be adopted to allow the season to kick off.
With this process likely to take longer to set up due to the logistics and financial resources required; there is a good chance there might be no local football this year.
Even if the process comes to fruition, Zimbabwe is already battling a lack of match venues as most of the stadia were condemned by the First Instance Board, which is responsible for inspecting and accrediting stadia.
With the rainy season fast approaching as well, there is a huge possibility that most of the venues will become waterlogged due to their poor drainage.
And all this spells bad news for the Warriors’ preparations and ultimately participation at the Chan tournament set to kick off in Cameroon early next year.
Zimbabwe take on the hosts on January 16 in the opening game of the rescheduled tournament as they are in Group A that also features Burkina Faso and Mali.
With only locally-based players allowed to take part in the competition, the lack of an active league presents a huge problem for Warriors coach Zdravko “Loga” Logarusic.
As things stand, Logarusic, who is currently holed up in his native Croatia, will not be able to organise a training camp for his players ahead of the tournament.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the local game, the Warriors’ participation at the Chan finals now hangs in the balance.
Jaure, who captained the team to seal their ticket for the competition, is concerned they will miss out on a chance of making an impact in Cameroon.
“I’m sure the association is obviously working on something for us to ensure that we go there and compete rather than adding numbers.
“The last time we went there, we were knocked out in the quarter-finals and it will be good for us to go and surpass that this time around.
“It will be difficult really to go there without good preparations considering where we are coming from. Suppose football fails to get the green light, I think the other available option will be of having a camp,” Jaure told the Daily News.
The DeMbare defender hopes the government and football authorities will be able to reach a conclusion regarding the bubble concept.
“As players, we are looking forward to the start of the season and hopefully it will be soon. We are actually following the recent developments in which the government spoke of the bio bubble with keen interest because it has been long without kicking the ball.
“We are not sure yet whether it will pass or not but as players our hope is to see football returning because for me, that will be the best way possible to prepare for the Chan tournament,” Jaure said.