Mighty Warriors distraught

HARARE - Mighty Warriors captain Felistas “Figo” Muzongondi says the team is disappointed after they failed to travel to Ivory Coast for Sunday’s 2016 Rio Olympic Games qualifier.

Rosemary Mugadza’s team was supposed to leave for the West African country on Saturday but the trip was aborted after the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) failed to raise $34 000 for air tickets.

“It is very sad that we failed to travel for our national assignment and as players it was a good platform for us to showcase our talents,” Muzongondi told the Daily News yesterday.

“We moved out of the camp over the weekend and we are now home, for now I have no idea of what is going on.

“For us we are always ready to represent our country for any national assignment and we will just be waiting for our next game.”

The Mighty Warriors are likely to be banned from future assignments by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) while Zifa face a heavy fine.

The Ivory Coast federation is also likely to sue Zifa for the lost revenue they used to prepare for this match.

“We deeply regret the inconveniences such an unfortunate development has brought on the players, the technical team and every football loving Zimbabwean,” Zifa said in a statement at the weekend.

“We approached government, through the ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture to assist but the government is also financially constrained hence they could not salvage the misfortune.

“When we affiliated to the competition, we submitted our budget to the Sports and Recreation Commission but due to the harsh economic environment, even the government cannot afford to entirely bankroll football national teams’ assignments.

“Without government and corporate support, football in this country will remain in the doldrums. We have advised both Caf and Fifa who are also aware of our financial status.

“We would like to reiterate that worldwide national teams are funded by their respective governments.”

Zifa, who are saddled with a debt of over $5 million, have been struggling to fund national team assignments.

On several occasions, Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries (PHD) leader Walter Magaya has had to rescue the bankrupt Zifa.

Magaya bankrolled the Warriors participation at the Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup in South Africa two months ago.

He also provided transport, allowances and appearance fees for the Warriors’ trip to Malawi for a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Group L qualifier last month.

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