Warriors will not repeat Malawi chaos: Mpandare. . . as Zim-Algeria double header draws closer
NEW Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare has promised the best of preparations for the upcoming 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group H back-to-back qualifiers against Algeria.
The Warriors are scheduled to take on the Desert Foxes away in Algiers at the July 5 Stadium on November 12 when the continental qualifiers resume after the extended break due to coronavirus (Covid-19).
Coach Zdravko “Loga” Logarusic and his men do not have time to relax as they have to travel back to the National
Sports Stadium to host the reigning African champions just four days later.
However, most Warriors fans are concerned that the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) will derail the team’s efforts due to their blundering ways.
Just a week ago, there was total chaos in the Zimbabwe camp ahead of the friendly international against Malawi as
Zifa struggled to raise a team for the game.
Most of the players Logarusic had called up failed to travel since Zifa had sent the invitation letters to their clubs way after the deadline. As a stop-gap measure, locally-based players, who had not kicked a ball in seven months,
and those based in Zambia and South Africa were brought in as replacements.
Frustrated by the delays and non-availability of his preferred players, Logarusic stopped short of threatening to walk out of the team at the height of the confusion.
The association also wanted the team to take a road trip to Blantyre, which is over 600 km away. In the end, the government stepped in and ordered Zifa to charter a plane or cancel the match before the Warriors finally
flew out of Harare and played out a goalless draw against the Flames.
Immediately after the Malawi debacle, Zifa appointed Mpandare as the substantive Warriors team manager after
the team had operated for close to a year with this critical post vacant.
The Zifa secretariat had assumed the duties in the time being but it proved to be an unsustainable arrangement due to the delicate nature of the post. Mpandare is confident the confusion that transpired before the Malawi encounter will not be repeated ahead of the clashes with the Desert Foxes.
“It was the Malawi game where we really experienced challenges with calling up players for national duty. “There was the non-availability of a manager and we also had a new coach; this Covid-19 thing, overseas-based players were not sure whether they would be allowed to travel so it was a bit tricky, especially without a manager.
“In the past, we never experienced such problems when it was time to call up players and I hope we will continue doing well since this is now a full time job for me.
“Ad hoc arrangements are a bit tricky because I was doing other things with my company and I was just coming in to do the letters but now I’m here every day. “I have to make follow-ups every day on the things that we want like kits and ensure everything is in place before the players arrive so I do not see us having problems with the Algeria
game,” Mpandare told the Daily
News. The former Gunners and Yadah FC team manager is already seized with ensuring all the players in Logarusic’s plans for next month’s matches will be available.
“We have done everything possible to ensure that the players wanted by the coach have their invitation letters sent to their clubs. “There is no point in delaying and waiting for the two-week window period; why not do it
“In my first week in office, we made sure we did that. “We will now continue to engage and see the travel options
that are available to Algeria,” Mpandare said.