National Under-23 midfielders Kuda Mahachi and Marvelous Nakamba did not travel for Sunday’s international friendly match against Morocco after they failed to obtain visas on time.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
With Zifa having the responsibility of ensuring adequate travelling documentation for players well before departure, it was yet another case of bungling by the association.
The local-based contingent that left Harare on Thursday evening via Dubai had match invitation letters that facilitated the attainment of visas upon landing in Casablanca, before they connected to the coastal city of Agadir where they will face the Atlas Lions at the Grand Stade d’Agadir.
They were joined in Casablanca by the England-based trio of Macauley Bonne, David Moyo and Munyaradzi Mbanje whose journey from London was smoothed by English Football Association-licensed Zimbabwean football agent Ndaba Nyathi.
Kalisto Pasuwa’s young men arrived in Agadir late Friday night.
But it was a completely different tale for Mamelodi Sundowns winger Kuda Mahachi and Nakamba of Dutch Eredivisie side Vitesse who failed to get invitation letters that serve as assurance they would be issued with visas soon after arriving in Morocco.
Mahachi was on Thursday denied boarding Qatar Airways at OR Tambo international airport after failing to produce a letter from Moroccan authorities guaranteeing he would obtain a visa while on transit in Doha or upon arriving at Casablanca’s Mohammed V international airport.
He had been scheduled to travel via Qatar enroute Casablanca and efforts to get assistance from Young Warriors manager Patrick Mutesva on Friday and yesterday drew blanks.
It was too late for him to travel last night as the journey would take almost 24 hours.
“The manager [Patrick Mutesva] told me he was working on something but time ran out,” said Mahachi from his South Africa base yesterday.
“It is painful missing this match because I was really prepared for it. I was talking to Marvelous whom I played with for the Under-20s and we were hoping to reunite in Under-23 colours. I just wish the guys in Morocco well.”
On Friday, Nakamba was stranded at Amsterdam airport, facing the same predicament as Mahachi.
The 20-year-old arrived at Amsterdam Airport only to be told he could not board without a visa or at least a match invite.
His club Vitesse had offered to book him overnight accommodation in Amsterdam on Friday if there were guarantees a visa would be issued or an invite would be sent yesterday.
But with no such assurance, he flew back to his Arnhem base from where he waited for the better part of yesterday.
“I am disappointed of course but life goes on,” said Nakamba.
“There are more national team games to come for so I am not worried much. Right now I will just have to push myself and work hard at Vitesse to cement a regular place in the squad. I wish all the best to the team doing duty in Morocco. I trust they will make us proud as we try to build a strong team.”
He was in constant touch with Young Warriors manager Patrick Mutesva who was still trying to secure a match invite for him.
It is only a two-hour journey from Amsterdam to Casablanca.
Yesterday afternoon Mutesva said they were still working towards facilitating the player’s travelling.
Away from the bungling, the Young Warriors trained at the Grand Stade d’Agadir yesterday morning.
They were due for another training session at the match venue last night.
“The mood in camp is very high and everyone was giving 110% effort at the morning training session. The UK-based players settled well, players like Munyaradzi Mbanje grew up and played with some of the players in the team,” said Mutesva.