Baby steps will take Warriors far

AFTER a lengthy 18-month absence from international football, Zimbabwe’s Warriors made a triumphant return to the global stage. The team’s journey back to prominence has been nothing short of inspiring, demonstrating their resilience and determination in the face of adversity.

The Warriors’ return coincided with a pair of crucial African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualification matches against Rwanda and Nigeria.

Few people gave the Warriors a fighting chance against Rwanda and continental powerhouse Nigeria.

The stakes were against Zimbabwe going into the two 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers given that the Warriors had not played a single international match after the country was banished from the game over a litany of charges against the former Zifa-led executive of Felton Kamambo.

While boardroom squabbles kept the Warriors out of action for a year- and-a-half, Rwanda and Nigeria enjoyed the full benefits of playing in continental and international tournaments.

Those that believed the Warriors would be turned into whipping boys by Rwanda and Nigeria in the two matches played at Huye Stadium, in Butare, Rwanda were left with egg on their faces after the Marvelous Nakamba-led national team put up a spirited fight in both games.

Marvelous Nakamba

The Warriors drew nil all against Rwanda and shocked star-studded Nigeria with another one all draw.

We say kudos to the boys for fighting like true warriors.

The team’s performance was a testament to their unwavering spirit and unwavering commitment to representing their country with pride.

If a team that didn’t play together as until for over a year could produce such performances, then the future of the Warriors is certainly bright, if the team is given all the necessary support by the Zifa Normalisation Committee.

Baby steps as the team gradually integrates back into the family of football nations is the right way to go.

We were disappointed after reading reports that the Zifa Normalisation Committee did not intend paying the boys for the nil all draw against Rwanda.

The players reportedly staged a mini protest that was promptly solved. However, it is such actions by those tasked with running our football that will in future derail an otherwise good start to a promising journey of restoring the country’s pride and joy — the Warriors.

It’s all hands on deck now, from the football administrators, players, coaches and the entire football family to give the Warriors all the support the team needs to top Group C and qualify for the 2026 Fifa World Cup in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Five other countries — South Africa, Lesotho Rwanda, Benin and Nigeria — stand between Zimbabwe and the World Cup dream.

The Warriors’ comeback serves as a powerful reminder that even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges, the human spirit can prevail. Their journey back to international football is a beacon of hope for all Zimbabweans, demonstrating the power of perseverance and the unwavering belief in one’s dreams.

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