IT’S been five months since the Zimbabwe national women soccer team, the Mighty Warriors were awarded housing stands by the government after qualifying for the Women African Cup of Nations (Afcon), but to date the stands are yet to be handed over.
BY SPORTS REPORTERS
Qualifying for the Afcon in April was the team’s second major achievement within six months after their historic qualification to the recently concluded Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
However, the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) board led by Philip Chiyangwa seems reluctant to relinquish the rewards to the rightful owners and are always shifting dates.
Ironically, Chiyangwa used the housing stands card when he got under fire after his association neglected the Mighty warriors team when they returned from a dismal Olympic Games performance last month.
Despite the fact, it had been expressly communicated to the Zifa president by the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee that no camp or accommodation had been arranged for the team upon return.
There was also prior communication to Chiyangwa that the girls would only get $5 for those who lived in Harare and $20 for those from out of Harare respectively, but all Chiyangwa did was to go to the airport and left the girls there.
“There was no Zifa person involved today, it was ZOC and when the players disbursed, it was after they had finished their business with ZOC and whatever you are hearing [about the Mighty Warriors getting $5 each on their return] has nothing to do with Zifa, or me, or my administration.
“We have money [for the Mighty Warriors], which will be distributed next week, together with their stands. That money could have been given to the team [yesterday], but the players had gone,” Chiyangwa issued this statement on August 13 amid a deluge of outcry on social media about the treatment of the Mighty Warriors on their return home.
The Mighty Warriors arrived from Brazil on August 12. Since then the national football team has not received anything from Zifa, except empty promises.
When Standardsport enquired from Chiyangwa three weeks ago about when the stands and money would be handed over, the Zifa supremo said they were only waiting for the return of the coaches who were attending a coaching course in Cameroon.
Three weeks after the coaches returned, Zifa remains mum.
One player who spoke to Standardsport said the players were told the residential stands and money would be handed over when they got back into camp later this month.
“We haven’t received anything from Zifa and I don’t know if we will get them. It’s really sad the kind of treatment we get as the women’s team,” said the player on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation.
Meanwhile, ZOC has defended the paltry allowance it gave its athletes who took part at the Olympics games.
“Members of Team Zimbabwe, all athletes and officials, were provided with an allowance by the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee: this was based on the resources available to the organisation. Team allowances were distributed to the team members prior to their departure for Rio,” ZOC chief executive Anna Mguni said in an emailed response on Friday.