Local football coaches have attributed the Warriors’ poor performance at the African Nations Championship (CHAN) to lack of game time with local players having gone for more than a year without playing competitive football.
The sentiments come after the Warriors had their worst performance at the CHAN tournament where they were eliminated after losing all their group matches and scoring just one goal.
Zimbabwe have done better at previous CHAN tournaments after ending with three points at the inaugural edition in 2009 and another three in 2011 before reaching the semi-finals in 2014.
The warriors had a poor showing in 2016 but they bowed out with at least a point hence the team has reached an all-time low at the ongoing edition.
It is however the build-up to the tournament that has come under the spotlight with Fitness coach Nyasha Charandura lamenting lack of game time.
“The principles of training were not met. We have four phases – the general preparation phase, the preseason phase, the competition phase and the transition phase and all of a sudden, the players went to the tournament without going through any phase and that affected the cohesion of the team and its very tough for any coach to produce results after this.
“If you check we managed to hold fort against Cameroon because they are just starting their season,” he explained.
Football coach, Newsome Mutema believes the absence of competitive action since 2019 due to Covid-19 affected player selection.
“Our challenge is that we have a league that is not running and this affected the preparations of the team myself being a coach it was always going to be difficult to select the players, and at the end of the day it ended up being trials.
“For a national team you are supposed to pick players in form, but how do you find a player in form after a year?”
Another football coach Vincent Gotami also echoed the same sentiments putting into question the players’ physical fitness.
“Coming from a year of football inactivity it was difficult as player fitness and selection was comprised because historical performance was what the coaches were basing on, which may not be a true reflection of the player’s current state and affects cohesion and fluidity of the team,” said Gotami.
It is therefore left to football authorities who must map a way forward for the resumption of local football if the country is to be competitive in future tournaments.