Warriors Afcon preps in disarray

HARARE - Zimbabwe's Warriors have had to be bailed out for accommodation, among other essentials, by the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (Fuz), as chaos continues to dog their preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Gabon.

The development also comes amid revelations that the team had refused to train at Gateway School yesterday after Zifa had initially failed to raise $60 to book the National Sports Stadium and star midfielder Marvelous Nakamba has had to use personal resources to buy lunch for his teammates.

And as the association is also still locked in allowance negotiations with the national senior soccer team — just 10 days ahead of the tournament -—Warriors team manager Sharif Mussa also confirmed that the players had turned down the beleaguered association’s offer for them to camp at Zifa Village, which is deemed sub-standard.

“It’s always an issue (allowance and accommodation) when the players are in camp, but it’s an ongoing (process of negotiations). Position hasn’t been finalised yet but hope it will be finalised soon,” he said.

“Regarding accommodation, Zifa has made it clear that the camping for this would be at Zifa Village but the players went there to inspect the place and were not happy. The players collectively engaged a well-wisher to try and see if they can get better accommodation,” Mussa said.

“Although there is nothing really wrong with the Village they just thought it’s not up to their standard. So Zifa and players are still engaged in discussion on where best they could go to depending on resources and budget from Zifa. Currently they are camped at a local hotel but for how long we don’t know yet. I am told it’s the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe that has come to assist according to what the players want,” he added.

Although Fuz president Desmond Maringwa was diplomatic about their intervention, it is understood that the squad itself had “even proposed to come to training from their respective homes”.

“When we heard the accommodation offered to the national team was not up standard we felt we needed to do something since the players are also part of our family,” he said.

“So we swiftly moved in to provide accommodation on interim basis while the association is looking for a better place. We spoke to the guys from the association and they said its okay with them and we used our contacts to secure accommodation,” Maringwa said.

“When we talked to the players they said they had wanted to prepare for the tournament while coming from their homes since facilities at the Zifa Village don’t meet their standards. So we felt if they go home it defeats the whole purpose of camping especially ahead of such a big tournament like Afcon,” the former Dynamos and Warriors midfielder said.

Given the national association’s financial challenges — marked by a $7 million debt — Maringwa said they were “doing this for the nation as it is actually a national cause and we have to play our part”.

“It is important for players to prepare for such a big tournament mentally and physically well. They need to stay together for bond’s sake among other things. So for us we have played our part and we actually urge more people to come on board and help the team,” the Fuz president said.

“The national team should not be Zifa’s problem but it needs collective effort because it’s important that the team prepare well. At the end of the day if they do well there everyone will be happy. Our hope is that they will go there and make us all proud,” Maringwa said, adding  “more people must chip in and help so that the team, and players only concentrate on what they are expected to do — playing football.”

With the national football mother body out of sorts, it is understood that the association had only managed to pay for accommodation for two nights at a local hotel before they took a weekend break to celebrate the New Year’s Eve with their families.

And when they re-grouped on Monday, reports say, the players were then told they will have to camp at the Zifa Village as the association had failed to raise funds to pay the hotel until Fuz came to their aid.

On a positive note though, forward Matthew Rusike last night completed a move to Tunisian side Club Sportif Sfaxien.

Rusike who earlier this week left camp is expected  to report for duty today.

While the Warriors are going through this difficult period to prepare for the Afcon, defending champions Ivory Coast were given extra financial support with the Ivorian government approving a £5,1m budget for the team’s campaign in Gabon.

It is an increase of
£507 000 from the last finals in Equatorial Guinea two years ago.

Ivory Coast kick off their tournament against Togo on January 16, before facing DR Congo and Morocco in the group stage.

The two-time champions opened their training camp in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Monday where they will face Sweden in a friendly on January 8, and will complete their warm-up with a game against Uganda, another Nations Cup-bound side, three days later.

Comments (2)

And where is Fidza?

Mafira - 5 January 2017

And also this so called mr Money Sir Wicknell Chivhayo where are u, "nhaimi masasikamu edu maviri muripiko"

Jola - 5 January 2017

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