Zifa president Cuthbert Dube has for the first time spoken about events that headlined the Warriors camp ahead of their Group G World Cup qualifier against Guinea last Sunday.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
Dube was in Brazil on Fifa business when the Warriors nearly failed to fulfill the Conakry fixture, due to financial constraints.
But a last-minute haste saw the association sending only 14 players for the battle, in which Zimbabwe restricted the Sly Nationale to a 1-0 win at the Stade du 28 Septembre.
While the Conakry game added another grim statistic on Zimbabwe’s unattractive African football record, the way the Warriors carried themselves left an impression that the team has a bright future after the circumstances they experienced prior to the game.
The team missed some training sessions in Zimbabwe and had little time to acclimatise to the searing Guinea temperatures after arriving in the West African country 24 hours before kickoff.
“Yes we did not win, but we should give credit to our boys for the brave performance amid that bad situation. We are rebuilding and that takes time. Everyone can see that the team has a bright future and must be given a chance,” said Dube.
“The trip to Guinea is highly regrettable but it was all because we are financially incapacitated. It is not a secret that the association has no money and we are struggling to survive, since we are wallowing deep in a US$4 million debt we inherited from the previous regime,” he said.
In a bid to curb a crippling US$4 million debt they inherited, the Dube-led administration has established the Football Trust also tasked with raising operational funds.
Zimbabwe managed to host Egypt and travel to Guinea courtesy of the Trust’s money-sourcing efforts.
“In our time of need we received absolutely nothing from the relevant Ministry. It is not like we approached them a few days before we left for Guinea, but way before. They have a calendar of all our activities this year. It is not a long time ago when we emphasised our need for government support to the Minister (David Coltart) and his deputy, while we were introducing the Football Trust to them,” Dube said.
The Zifa boss returns to Brazil on Wednesday to continue with his work as a member of the Fifa Confederations Cup Organising Committee and said the association expects to tie up a substantive deal with Warriors coach Klaus Dieter Pagels soon.
“As an association we are to blame for changing coaches which should not happen for the sake of continuity. Pagels is going to get a contract after I return from Brazil.”