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from MTHULISI SIBANDA in Johannesburg,South Africa
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – RONALD Pfumbidzai is hopeful Zimbabwe returns from the football wilderness.
This as his country’s administrative problems jeopardises the resumption of their rivalry with neighbouring South Africa.
The ban by the International Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) is also a conundrum for the Africa Cup of Nations 2023 qualifiers where the two neighbouring nations have been drawn together in Group K alongside Liberia and Morocco.
FIFA’s sanctions followed government’s interference in the beleaguered Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) represents the lowest point for a country which while blessed with talent has underachieved as a consequence of administrative bungles and political headwinds.
Pfumbidzai, Zimbabwe’s South African-based fullback, was diplomatic when asked about the ongoing crisis in his native country.
Nonetheless, he expressed hope the domestic administrational issues and subsequent fallout with FIFA be resolved.
Hanging in the balance, The Warriors’ participation in the AFCON qualifiers is dependent on Zimbabwean authorities putting their house in order.
Still the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has banned Zimbabwe from hosting international matches because of unplayable pitches.
“Personally, I always focus on things I have control over, and that’s at my club. That’s where I train and give everything,” Chippa United defender Pfumbidzai said.
“Being in the national team is good, but I don’t have control over that. So, I don’t even focus on that, but I hope and pray they (authorities) will fix everything so that even young players can get exposure,” Pfumbidzai exclusively told CAJ News Africa.
While his focus is on Chippa United, where he is enjoying a new lease of life, the 27-year-old still harbours ambitions of donning the green-and-gold strip of The Warriors, who he last represented at the AFCON in 2019 in Egypt.
“Every player wants to represent their country,” he reiterated in an interview with CAJ News Africa.
A period off the sidelines because of injury and Bloemfontein Celtic’s sell of its franchise to Royal AmaZulu (AM) in the off season elongated Pfumbidzai’s spell on the sidelines.
After signing with the Chilli Boys in January, he reveals he is in a good space and has let go of the past.
“It feels good to be able to do what I love most,” the versatile player said in the interview.
“Sometimes, you have to accept reality. There was nothing I could do, but to wait until I was fit. Thank God, here I am.”
Pfumbidzai is confident perennial demotion battlers Chippa United will pull off another survival act as the relegation battle intensifies.
Such is his determination he has no qualms occupying a central position at the back despite his natural role as left back.
“Even at Celtic, sometimes I used to play centre-back. It’s easy for me to adapt,” he said.
“We have a big chance to survive but it’s not going to be easy,” the Harare-born Chippa United rearguard added.
He appealed to fans to play a part in the team’s renewed battle to retain its status in the DStv Premiership.
“I just want them (supporters) to rally behind the team so we can survive (relegation),” Pfumbidzai said.
“We have to take it a game at a time, fight as a team like we have been doing in recent games. I think we will come right,” Pfumbidzai said.
– CAJ News