TODAY it’s Nigeria and tomorrow it’s Egypt – it never gets any easier for the Warriors in their mission to transform themselves into a formidable football force on the continent.
The forthcoming AFCON finals is set to provide a barometer of how far they have travelled.
And, as Sunday Chidzambwa and his men plunge into an international friendly against the Super Eagles in Asaba today, which will provide us with a better picture of their state of health, and competitiveness, they can do well to borrow some lessons from a rousing speech recently made by one of their all-time greats.
Madinda — the oldest of the famous Ndlovu brothers who include the late Adam and the irreplaceable Peter — had a lengthy career in the colours of the Warriors and finally retired after featuring for the Dream Team in the ’90s.
Recently, Madinda spoke to the Zimbabwe Legends blog in what was virtually a celebration of his 40 years in the trenches of top-flight football which started when he started featuring for the Highlanders’ senior team in 1979.
And, his story, had a number of lessons which the Warriors Class of 2019 could use in their mission to try and flex their muscles when they take on the heavyweights of African football, starting with their high-profile international friendly against the Super Eagles today.
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“It’s always any player’s wish to put on the national jersey,” Madinda, who is now the coach of the domestic Premiership’s oldest club, Highlanders, said in that interview whose video is now on YouTube.
“I’m blessed that I had to witness both the first national team after Independence and also the generation that was coming to play after them and so forth.
“When we started off in 1980 after Independence, I started with the Under-20 (team) with the likes of Stanley Ndunduma, Sebastian Chikwature, all these players, and then we graduated into the national team, then, which was being coached by John Rugg.
“Gibson Homela, Sunday Marimo, you know, and we took over as Young Warriors, actually, the word, Warriors, comes after the Young Warriors had already been popular and those Young Warriors were during our time.
“It was so amazing, it was so exciting to be part and parcel of the national team, be it at Under-20 or at the national team, when you are fresh from gaining Independence, when you play for the nation, in front of that huge crowd, you feel like you are at war.’’