Warriors Selection Saga: Zifa Speaks

Sport Zimbabwe

Chidochashe Manuwa

ZIFA acting Vice President Philemon Machana says they do not interfere with selection of Warriors as players are called on “merit”.

His remarks come at a time when there is an outcry over selection under coach Zdravko Logarusic, a situation that could have resulted in Zimbabwe’s humiliation at Cosafa.

“Players should be in the national team because of merit and not for any other commercial selfish interest pursued by anyone,” said Machana.

Although selection has always attracted debate, the current technical team seems to have broken records of some sort.

Logarusic recently defended himself saying he lost about five players before the tournament started.

That claim has however only strengthened critics’ claims that they have been calling a good starting eleven and ‘imposters’ as part of the rest of the squad.

Ben Musaka, a last minute inclusion in the team has been cited as an example. The Harare City midfielder ended up playing a key role at the tournament despite the fact that some, initially selected ahead of him, were on the bench.

The Afcon finals qualifier against Botswana where Onismo Bhasera came in last minute, only to start ahead of the back-up left back is another case. Divine Lunga had dropped from the team.

“If Bhasera is the second best to Divine Lunga, why can’t the two be in the squad that is called up in the first place? Why should other players in the expanded squad just make up the numbers?” One critic asked.

Machana said: “We are under no illusion to abuse that platform as a board and from a policy perspective.

“Of course we would also want potential players that are good actually, that deserve to be in the national team, obviously to use that platform to market themselves and get contracts elsewhere.”

Fears were that if the controversial selection system continued, the Warriors brand would continue to suffer.