Warriors finally leave for Guinea

HARARE - The Warriors finally left Harare for Conakry, Guinea last night after the Zimbabwe Football Association, government and NetOne were able to charter an Air Zimbabwe plane for the trip.

Zimbabwe were in danger of failing to fulfil tonight’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Group L final qualifier against the Syli Nationale after Zifa had failed to secure flights to the West Africa country.

The Warriors have already qualified for the finals which will be held in Gabon, rendering tonight’s match dead-rubber.

However, if the team had failed to make the trip, it would have had serious repercussions for Zifa, including the risk of having the Warriors booted out of next year’s tournament.

Zifa would also have had to pay a hefty fine to Caf while Guinea were entitled to seek compensation for the resources they used in preparing to host the match.

On Friday night, Zifa had written to Caf, requesting the match to be moved to Monday evening since the earlier flights they had secured would only arrive tonight (after scheduled kick-off time) in Conakry.

All these contingency plans were shelved after Zifa, government and NetOne finally mobilised resources to charter a plane from the national airliner.

After a long wait, the Warriors finally arrived at the Harare International Airport just after 1700 hours yesterday.

After going through all the immigration formalities, the team departed at around 1930 hours since the chartered plane had to seek route clearances.

The team is now expected to arrive in Conakry early this morning and will have some few hours to rest before the match which is scheduled to kick off at 1900 hours local time. 

The Europe-based trio of Marvellous Nakamba, Knowledge Musona, Costa Nhamoinesu and are also expected in Conakry this morning.

Sweden-based striker Matthew Rusike, however, announced late last night on his Twitter account that he would not make the trip due to “circumstances beyond my or the coaches’ control”.

Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa bemoaned the team’s chaotic travel arrangements but said they will soldier on to get a positive result.

“Once again, we are a nation that wants to rely on luck on all occasions.

“We now have to sit down with the boys and try to psyche them up for the game,” Pasuwa said shortly before checking in at the airport.

“We also have those boys who are coming from Europe, who were . . . wondering whether we would make the journey. We have spoken to them and assured (them) we are were making the trip.

“As a coach, such things affect us a lot, but you have to go back to the drawing board to make sure we put on a good performance in this fixture we must fulfil.

“We now need to motivate the boys in order for them to look at the bigger picture and not let them be affected by the setbacks we have faced.”

Pasuwa said he expects a tough encounter against the Syli Nationale since they will be playing for pride.

“No one wants to lose a game, especially at home. Even if there is nothing at stake or to lose; every team wants to win all the matches they play,” Pasuwa said.

“I’m sure it is the same with this Guinea side who would want to end this qualification campaign with a win and maintain the record that they have never lost to Zimbabwe at home.

“We are not taking this game lightly as we also want to end our campaign on a high.”

Warriors captain Willard Katsande echoed his coach’s sentiments, saying despite the travelling bottlenecks, they will try to put on a good performance.

“As players and professionals, we won’t talk much about the trip because we now have a job to focus on when we get to Conakry,” Katsande said.

“We are not just going there to make up numbers, but we are going to compete.”

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.