As Nigeria gears up for the World Cup in Russia, the team will be looking at every opportunity to strengthen and test their squad before the ultimate test begins in Russia this June.
In that regard, there have been rumours doing circles in Zimbabwe that the national team, Zimbabwe Warriors will be playing a friendly against the Super Eagles of Nigeria. Though the date hasn’t been announced, this, if it comes to pass will be good news for Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr as he gets another chance of assessing his team and will be an extra opportunity for sports betting for football crazy fans to earn some extra bucks by placing bets on their national teams.
The Zimbabwe Football Association President, Mr Philip Chiyangwa while discussing the state of the country’s football said they are looking into making Zimbabwe a football powerhouse in the Southern African region. He said the Association’s plans for the long-term future is to feature in the upcoming regional tournament, the 2019 Africa Cup and Nations and the 2022 World Cup.
Mr Chiyangwa said they will be inviting a technical director for the national team from Europe but did not disclose the name or the country where the technical director will be coming from. In addition to that, he said the country is going to start playing international friendlies with football powerhouses on the continent. He said his Association is already at an advanced stage in negotiating international friendlies with Nigeria and Cameroon. He, however, did not say if these friendlies are lined up for the international breaks before the World Cup or afterwards.
Zimbabwe, unlike Nigeria has had torrid times on and off the pitch. Off the pitch, the Zimbabwe Football Association is riding in a sea of debt, with estimates claiming the debt may well be over US $5 million. ZIFA’s creditors internationally have made the nation pay by approaching FIFA and having Zimbabwe thrown out of World Cup qualification campaign for the 2018 World Cup. Domestically, creditors have approached the Courts in bids to recover their money, factors which have led ZIFA property being attached. Recently, ZIFA had to operate at the house of its President after allegations it had failed to pay rentals at the ZIFA Village to the city council.
On the field, there are also problems. The team spent much of 2017 without a permanent coach calling upon different local coaches during international matches. Part of this has been induced by the debt problems at ZIFA which meant the organisation couldn’t pay the salary of a national team coach. The squad itself has a dearth in talent. No Zimbabwean player plays in the English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga or the Italian Serie A. the top talents play in Scotland (Kundai Benyu at Celtic but not a regular starter) and Knowledge Musona plying his trade in Belgium at KV Oostende who are struggling in the Belgium top flight.
The Nigerian Football Federation has not issued a statement thus far stating their position regarding the Zimbabwe-Nigeria friendly match.