By Shelly Guni
ZIFA face a possible sanction by FIFA after the Mighty Warriors boycotted the Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifier against Zambia at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
Zimbabwe failed to pitch after clubs had withdrawn their players from camp.
Football critics yesterday blasted Zifa for failing to put their house in order while others argued a ban was imminent.
The Mighty Warriors lost the reverse fixture 5-0.
ZIFA, however, claimed they had communicated with FIFA allaying fears of a possible ban.
“We received a report from the manager around 10pm to midnight that Blue Swallows, Black Rhinos and Correctional had withdrawn their players from camp.
“Only this morning we were informed also that Herentals had done the same.
“We communicated with FIFA about our position and we requested FIFA to allow us to change the players. FIFA accepted and they said we can change the players.
“By the time the team arrived at the stadium, the new players had not reported for camp.
“We wrote again seeking postponement but FIFA wrote back to us and said can you consult with Football Association of Zambia so that they accept.
“Unfortunately the clubs that took players from camp did not proffer any reasons for withdrawing the players from camp.
“Regulations governing the release of players say you are not allowed to withdraw players from the camp especially when the game is on the international calendar.
Indications are that teams had withdrawn their players after the football association failed to fulfil their promise of paying the players their allowances from the COSAFA tournament, reports Gwesela declined to clarify.
However, the Football Association of Zambia vice president Rix Mweemba, who was also the head of delegation, said they were highly disappointed on the manner women football players are being treated.
“We have so much respect for Zimbabwe both the men and women teams and we expected a very explosive game considering the way the team played on Wednesday.
“Most Zambians said we were lucky to score those five goals because of fatigue from your team since they travelled by road. So we were waiting to see something new.
“We are very disappointed that it can end like this.”
“Zimbabwe is our icon in football but if our leaders can behave like this where are we going?
“We just hope they put their house in order. We were told 15 minutes before kick-off that Zimbabwe will not come for the match, they were having problems.
“It costs more to Zimbabwe if we are to stay longer because we will have to adjust on our air tickets and accommodation which we are trying to avoid. Even if they had told us earlier we could have adjusted and made plans accordingly but to be told like this was carelessness.
“We are travelling back tomorrow (today) definitely. The match official has to make a report and whatever decision that will come from CAF/FIFA will shall abide by it.” H Metro