By Eddie Chikamhi
Warriors’ back-to-back 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifiers scheduled for later this month have had the football authorities at ZIFA scratching their heads. They have a bill of close to US$200 000 needed to foot the opening fixtures of the 2021 Afcon campaign against Botswana and Zambia. The matches are set to be played in a space of four days.
The Warriors are set to go into camp next week ahead of the home game against Botswana at Barbourfields on November 15, before travelling to Zambia to meet former African champions Chipolopolo on November 19.
ZIFA acting vice president Phillemon Machana, who is also the board member responsible for finance, yesterday told The Herald that they face a hectic month because of the back-to-back assignment.
Many of their prospective partners have taken the back seat in this harsh economic environment where prices of goods and services have been spiralling out of control.
Machana said they have secured quotations for air tickets for 13 players based in Europe, 11 in South Africa and one in Zambia and they were also working on the logistics for the players’ allowances, accommodation and local transport.
“What I can only say is that it’s very expensive to host back-to-back games of this kind,’’ he said.
“Imagine up to 70-80 percent of our players called for this game are coming from outside the country and that would mean they have to be flown in.
“From the quotation that we have, we would need something like US$4 700 to bring in one player from Europe, inclusive of the airfares and accommodation for the duration of the two games.
“The association needs about US$80 000 to travel with the whole team to Zambia and this includes accommodation.
“This figure also covers the air tickets for the referees and payment of the match commissioner for the home game.
“Then we will need camping for the two games. We need transport and the allowances for the players, among many other things, yet the economy is screaming like this.
“And we still have people (ZIFA creditors) coming after our accounts every time we have these games. For now it seems like we are on our own in this. We have been knocking on the doors of both the Government and private sector.
“For some reason, they haven’t been able to come on board. Maybe, it’s the economy. But make no mistake, we will make sure that the games are fulfilled with what is available to us although we are saying the door is still open to anyone who wants to chip in.’’
He said they were desperately in need of partners.
“We have always stated that ZIFA need partners, be it in providing accommodation, transport, water, allowances for players or anything that helps lessen the burden on the association,’’ he said.
“We welcome anyone who wants to partner us. We are a very transparent organisation.
“In the past we have always held that sponsors can assist in kind or that they can deal directly with the service providers, remembering that this is a national project, not a ZIFA baby.’’
The Warriors are expected to begin camp in Bulawayo next Monday, for the home match against Botswana.
ZIFA are happy that the Government has been helping with securing passports for the players born, and raised abroad, like Macauley Bonne, Adam Chicksen, Jordan Zemura, Tivonge Rushesha and Cliff Moyo.
“We appreciate that the Government has come in a big way to help in this issue. It has taken long for players like Bonne, but we are happy with what is happening,’’ said Machana.
“It’s a demonstration of common purpose and it shows this is for Zimbabwe as a whole. We hope results will come as expected. When we succeed, we succeed together.
“Of course, there are challenges in the economy, but we have to concentrate more on the positives. The goal is to win our matches. It has been long since we had such a high-profile match in Bulawayo.
“So we want the supporters in Bulawayo to come in their numbers and support the boys. We have to fill up the stadium.’’
Goalkeepers: Elvis Chipezeze (Baroka) Martin Mapisa (Velez CF) Simbarashe Chinani (Dynamos)
Defenders: Douglas Nyaupembe (Stockport County) Ian Nekati (ZPC Kariba) Cliff Moyo (Kidderminister Harriers) Divine Lunga (Lamontville Golden Arrows) Adam Chicksen (Bolton Wanderers) Jordan Zemura (Bournemouth) Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic) Teenage Hadebe (Yeni Malatyaspor) Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids) Partson Jaure (Manica Diamonds) Kelvin Moyo (Chippa United)
Midfielders: Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims) Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United) Butholezwe Ncube (Amazulu) Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa) Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu) Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United) Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs) Phenias Bamusi (CAPS United)
Strikers: Admiral Muskwe (Leicester City) Terrence Dzvukamanja (Bidvest Wits) Prince Dube (Highlanders) Knowledge Musona (RSC Anderlecht) Tinotenda Kadewere (Le Havre AC) Knox Mutizwa (Lamontville Golden Arrows) Macauley Bonne (Charlton Athletic) Evans Rusike (SuperSport United). The Herald