Warriors' 6-hour drive to Zambia

HARARE – Zimbabwe national football team will have to endure a six-hour journey to the Zambian capital Lusaka, after Zimbabwe Football Association confirmed the country’s flagship team will leave by road for the Cosafa Cup tournament.

The Warriors are expected to undertake the 417 kilometre journey to Lusaka on Wednesday and only rest for two days before playing on Saturday.

The tournament returns after a three-year absence and Zimbabwe arrive in Zambia as defending champions after winning the 2009 edition.

By virtue of being defending champions Klaus Dieter Pagels’ men have a bye from the first round of the competition and will take on Malawi in the quarterfinals on July 13 in Lusaka.

It is however, the travel itinerary for the country’s flagship sport that has certainly raised eyebrows.

And that this follows hard on the heels of the Guinea debacle that saw the Warriors travel to Conakry for their World Cup qualification match in drips and drabs — has only fuelled discontent among supporters towards the country’s football mother body.

But Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze believes the nation should not be too quick to judge the association for past failures or the current travel arrangements.

Mashingaidze believes it will be unfair to solely apportion the blame for the national team’s financial woes squarely on Zifa alone.

“That Zifa is financially unstable is no secret,” Mashingaidze told the Daily News.

“What I can tell you is that we came up with a prudent position that is consistent with the resources that we (Zifa) can afford,” he said.

“But it’s sad that when you look at countries like Malawi and little Lesotho they are both backed by government but there is no such support for us here.

“I think the nation deserves to know the truth, because it looks like they think the national team should be funded by Zifa which is not the case,” Mashingaidze added.

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