Confusion rocks Guinea arrival

HARARE - Warriors opponents in Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, Guinea, embarrassed Zifa and journalists when it sent them on a wild goose chase by choosing to keep their arrival a secret despite “confirming” they would arrive at midday.

As a result, the expectant journalists were kept waiting for more than three hours at the airport yet the Syli Nationale was in Johannesburg, choosing to keep Zifa guessing.

But Zifa officials strangely did not check with the airline the time of their arrival — believing that the midday confirmation by the West Africans was genuine.

The bus they had hired to ferry Guinea headed back into town empty in embarrassing scenes for the crisis-ridden local football governing body.

Journalists arrived at the airport at 11:30am but as they grew anxious — after discovering that the Syli Nationale was not aboard the afternoon South African Airways flight — Zifa officials admitted they had been fooled.

Asked by journalists what time the West Africans were arriving, the confused officials retorted: “We don’t know, tiri kutovatsvakawo (We are also looking for them).”

However, Zifa communications officer — Xolisani Gwesela — said they were told by Guinea that they would be arriving at midday.

“After the 12:00pm incident, we sent them a message asking their arrival time but they did not reply,” Gwesela told the Daily News at around 1530hrs yesterday.

Whether the West Africans were playing mind games or maintaining their arrival a secret, they cruelly exposed Zifa who should have done better to salvage their pride which is in tatters.

The West Africans were expected to arrive last night from Johannesburg where they had set up base in preparation for Sunday’s big match.

Meanwhile, the Warriors intensified their preparations yesterday with skipper and midfielder Willard Katsande urging his teammates to continue with their fine start in Afcon qualifiers.

“We started our campaign in a positive way and we are playing at home. We need to utilise home advantage and get the three points to boost our chances of qualifying.

“The three points are very important in this game. Everything is going on well; all the players are here and are all working hard. Morale is very high and we are looking forward to a good game,” added Katsande.

The Warriors started their campaign on a positive note, beating Malawi 2-1 away in June.

Zimbabwe are joint leaders of Group L with Swaziland on three points and need a victory against the West Africans to maintain pole position in the group.

On the other hand, Guinea slumped to an uninspiring defeat at the hands of minnows Swaziland in their opening fixture in June.

Success-starved Warriors fans are hoping for a comprehensive victory tomorrow to put the Warriors in a commanding position in the group.

Zimbabwe Squad:

Goalkeepers: Washington Arubi (University of Pretoria), Elvin Chipezeze (Chicken Inn), Tatenda Munditi (Harare City)

Defenders: Hardlife Zvirekwi, Justice Jangano (CAPS United), Liberty Chakoroma (Free State Stars), Milton Ncube (Ajax Cape Town) Costa Nhamoinesu (Sparta Prague), Patson Jaure (University of Pretoria), Teenage Hadebe (Highlanders)

Midfielders: Willard Katsande (Kaizer Chiefs), Danny Phiri (Chicken Inn), Ronald Chitiyo (Dynamos), Khama Billiat (Sundowns), Kuda Mahachi (Sundowns), Rapheal Manuvire (ZPC Kariba)

Strikers: Edmore Chirambadare (Chicken Inn), Knowledge Musona (K.V. Oostende), Mathew Rusike (Halmstads BK), Nyasha Mushekwi (Djurgardens), Cuthbert Malajila (Sundowns)

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