Warriors in kit headache. . . as Umbro consignment is delayed

THE Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) president Felton Kamambo yesterday revealed his board had made alternative plans for the Warriors’ kit ahead of their crucial 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Congo amid indications that their Umbro kit might not arrive on time.

The Umbro kit deal announced by Zifa over a month ago has been thrown into the spotlight as the suppliers are yet to deliver, raising serious questions on the nature of the agreement.
At a press conference to announce the deal with the British Sportswear supplier, Kamambo told the media that the replicas would be ready by March 14, which would have enabled the association to sell the replicas ahead of the match.

Already, the Young Warriors, who are in Maputo for an important campaign that could culminate in them playing at the 2020 Olympic Games, are sure to play with an unbranded kit when they face Mozambique tomorrow.

Umbro promised to avail 50 000 replicas at the launch last month but it seems they have not been able to meet the deadlines with Kamambo singing a different tune yesterday after being quizzed on latest developments regards the kit.

“The kits from Umbro; we have received the waybill for the kit but the kit is not yet here but as a board we have made an alternative plan which was our plan B that we activated. The waybill is here and we are just waiting for it to come.
“I’m sorry our kit sponsor could not meet their deadline to supply us with replicas. As for this match we won’t be having the replica jerseys.”

Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest defender Tendayi Darikwa arrived in the country yesterday afternoon for the crucial qualifier against Congo on Sunday and was quick to warn his teammates to brace for a tough encounter against the Congolese.  
The right back made his competitive debut for Zimbabwe against Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in October last year in an Afcon qualifier and impressed with a polished performance establishing a good understanding with the likes of Teenage Hadebe and Alec Mudimu at the back.

The 26-year-old defender, went on to feature in the reverse fixture against the DRC at home, in the process accumulating a second yellow card in those matches, resulting in him missing the Warriors’ 1-0 defeat to Liberia in the last qualifier tie through suspension.

After serving his one game suspension, Darikwa is back in the fold and is expected to play an important role once again for the Warriors as they need at least a draw in their last match to seal a place at the Afcon finals set for Egypt from June 21 to July 19, 2019. A defeat will see the Warriors getting knocked out on the head-to-head basis should the other match between DRC and Liberia produce a winner. 

And speaking soon after arriving yesterday, Darikwa reminded his teammates to be aware of the threat posed by the Congo Red Devils.
“I was disappointed, of course I wanted to be there and help the team. I got suspended so unfortunately I couldn’t be there but now I’m back and hopefully I can help the team to get a good result on Sunday,” Darikwa told reporters.  

“They (Congo) are a threat, I understand the first game was a 1-1 in Congo so we know they are capable of competing obviously but we have to do what we are good at and take the game to them and hopefully win.   
“(We) just need to be ready and it’s a big opportunity for us all. (We) should be ready for a tough game but hopefully we can do everyone proud.”

Sunday Chidzambwa’s charges head into Sunday’s match sitting at the top of Group G with eight points ahead of Liberia, who have seven points, while Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo are on six and five points respectively
Though Zimbabwe only need to avoid a defeat to make it to the Afcon finals for a second straight year, Darikwa wants the national team to entertain their fans at home by scoring goals and register a victory.

“I’m really excited. It’s a big game for the country on Sunday now I’m here, I’ll join the rest of teammates in camp, rest, train and be ready for Sunday,” Darikwa said.
“We wanna win the game as always. We all know that we’ll still qualify with a draw but it’s a home game for us we wanna entertain our fans and hopefully score some goals and win the football match.

“We are promising the fans that we will score some goals and some excitement. We will try our best and work hard and hopefully it will be enough to make us qualify for the tournament.”
It’s now full house for Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa as all the players called for duty are now in camp and they intensified their preparations with an afternoon training session at the Harare International School yesterday.

Chidzambwa expressed satisfaction with the enthusiasm being demonstrated by his charges.
However, skipper Knowledge Musona sat out yesterday’s training session as he is still being monitored by the Warriors’ medical staff following an injury scare.  
“I’m quite pleased with the response of the players, they are all here. From what I have seen so far I think all the boys are raring to go,” Chidzambwa said. 

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