By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
FC Platinum’s missing luggage was apparently left behind at Bole International Airport in Ethiopia where the Zimbabwean champions got their connecting flight to Khartoum, Sudan, from Robert Mugabe International Airport on Tuesday night.
The luggage was expected to arrive in Khartoum last night although it had been said initially, that it would be arriving in a 11AM flight.
The Zimbabwean champions, who are due to take on El Hilal in a Group B Total Caf Champions League match tomorrow night at 9PM, were left fuming upon landing in Khartoum yesterday morning when their entire luggage that included soccer balls, kit and other training materials as well as general clothing for the whole delegation, could not be found.
After the discovery that the luggage was missing, an Ethiopian airlines official, Sheza Mohammed, who is based at Khartoum Airport wrote a brief but straight to the point email to his counterparts in Addis Ababa.
“Top urgent, left behind on ET-342/27Nov19; below baggage is for a football team (that) came to Sudan for a match in (the) African Champions League and going back. Please send their baggage on priority base to avoid any problem and unnecessary claims,” wrote Mohammed.
FC Platinum media liaison officer Chido Chizondo and the club general manager Joseph Mususa both confirmed that the luggage had been “found” in Addis Ababa but expressed disappointment about the delays in transporting it to Sudan.
“They had initially told us that the bags will arrive at 6AM, then it was moved to 11AM and now we are told it’s this evening at 6PM. We hope that we won’t get another excuse,” said Chizondo yesterday.
If it was mind games that the Sudanese were playing so as to frustrate the Zimbabwean champions and throw a spanner in the works, it turned out to be a futile exercise as Lizwe Sweswe had not planned to conduct any training session in the afternoon.
“We will rest during the day since we have been travelling for long hours. Since the match is at night, we will then train under floodlights today, so that tomorrow on the day of the match the boys will have acclimatised to night football,” Sweswe said soon after touching down in Sudan before the dramatic luggage “loss” was discovered.
Yesterday the boys had a swimming session in the afternoon under the watchful eyes of assistant coach Patrick Mandizha just to soothe their muscles and in the evening were expected to conduct their first full training.
To mitigate against the possibility of the luggage not arriving, team management quickly organised a few soccer balls as well as some training bibs and equipment and urged the technical team not to be disturbed by the “short mishap”.
The technical team and players were told to remain fully focused on the job at hand against the hosts who, however, have not played any competitive match since November 6 when they beat Al Ahli 2-0 in their local league battle.
FC Platinum squad in Sudan
Petros Mhari, Francis Tizayi, Wallace Magalane, Raphael Muduviwa, Tawana Chikore, Lawrence Mhlanga, Gift Bello, William Stima, Charles Sibanda, Rainsome Pavari, Hagiazo Magaya, Rodwell Chinyengetere, Never Tigere, Devon Chafa, Guyve Mawete Nsiala, Gift Mbweti, Keitha Madera, Kelvin Madzongwe, Rahman Kutsanzira, Mkhokheli Dube, Albert Eonde. The Chronicle