A lot has been said as you prepare to plunge into battle in the opening game of the Total Africa Cup of Nations tournament against hosts Egypt on Friday 21 June 2019 and the other Group A matches against Uganda and DRC.Sitting in the auditorium of Cresta Lodge’s Sango Conference Room on a chilly evening of Wednesday June 12, the patriotism of everyone in there easily rubbed onto me.
Without a doubt, the enthusiasm and support was overwhelming. In an instant, I realised the magnitude of your mission in Egypt.The gathering was a befitting response to your plea to Government before your departure.
Close your eyes for a moment dear Warriors. Do you remember you almost failed to travel to the last AFCON tournament in Gabon and even refused to attend the farewell dinner over allowance disputes?
Fast forward to the present and a totally different reality exists this time.
lt is a moment of great pride and jubilation as the nation rallies behind its beloved Warriors. The nation and Government have done their part and you now need to have your eyes on the prize.
The atmosphere at the dinner reminded everyone of the old but useful saying that “a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle’’.
As you prepare to represent the nation, there is definite need for every Zimbabwean to continue supporting your Nations Cup cause.
During your fund-raising dinner dear Warriors, I was privileged to be in the company of the country’s first citizen, His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa, members of his Cabinet, esteemed captains of industry and a cross-section of the Zimbabwe football family.
There could have been no better tone than the one set by President Mnangagwa when he said: “’We support the Warriors because they are ours, the Warriors are Zimbabweans and we are Zimbabweans so there is no reason for us to look for reasons to support them. We are the Warriors and they are also the Warriors.”
He reiterated that our national teams are our sporting ambassadors and symbols of our national identity. He said they help foster a sense of national pride among us, the citizens.
Having been chairperson of another fund-raising committee – the Mzansi ’90 committee – which successfully mobilised resources for the 2013 Nations Cup qualifying campaign, I fully understand the enormous task of the current committee, which is led by the industrious Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation acting Minister Kazembe Kazembe.
His vice-captains are Kudakwashe Tagwireyi and Philemon Machana. The other talented players on that team include Pikirayi Deketeke, Eve Gadzikwa, Chipo Mtasa, Winston Chitando, Monica Mutsvangwa, Emmerson Mnangagwa Jnr, Joel Biggie Matiza, Mangaliso Ndlovhu, Lazarus Muchenje, Philip Mataranyika, Sugar Chagonda, and many more.
I would like to applaud President Mnangagwa for setting an effective fund-raising team.
It is also my clarion call to industry, individuals and parastatals to ably support the fundraising team.
Now it is over to you Sunday “Mhofu’’ Chidzambwa to set another robust team in the field. Just like you have your squad in Egypt, there is a solid team that is also playing its part at home.
The ball is now in your court. After all, this game of football has the power to unite the nation.
Have you ever noticed that in as much as people might not agree on various religious, racial, spiritual, political and any other issues, when it comes to the Warriors, they all sing the same chorus?
A lot of permutations and theories have dominated debates ahead of your campaign but be that as it may, one of my favourite philosophers Carl Clausewitz said, ‘‘Courage, above all things is the first quality of a Warrior’’.
Go all out for the cause as victory is earmarked for those who are inclined to pay its price. Being a Warrior entails a combination of skill and will coupled with physical and mental toughness.
Remember that if you fell down yesterday, stand up today. As usual, we will all rally behind you in our hallmark of unity for purpose and national pride.
Remember the victims of Cyclone Idai who would have loved to be around to cheer you on. On March 24, you beat Congo Brazzaville and dedicated the victory to them.
Remember the young souls from St Charles Lwanga School in Chimanimani who were trapped after a rock collapsed on their dormitory.
The great strength and resilience shown by the communities in Manicaland in the face of great difficulty should spur you on to take up this task. You hail from a strong and determined people who scale great mountains with resolve and unity.
GO WARRIORS GO!!!
George Manyaya is a public relations practitioner and the former chairperson of the Mzansi ’90 committee. The Mzansi ‘90 committee mobilised resources for the Warriors in 2013. He wrote this article in his personal capacity