DESPITE reaching an agreement with the football mother body Zifa, the country’s flagship sporting team, the Warriors have vowed to boycott their 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) fixtures in Gabon if the promised match fees do not reflect in their accounts by Friday this week.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
A stormy impasse over match fees, daily allowances and winning bonuses between the two parties that began on Friday night with the team snubbing a farewell organised by the Ministry of Sports and Recreation in Harare, in which Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa was the guest of honour, came to an end yesterday after the players’ demands were partially addressed.
However, after initially missing the 1am scheduled flight to Cameroon yesterday, the Warriors reportedly refused to catch a rescheduled 3pm flight, demanding that their local daily allowances be paid.
Kalisto Pasuwa’s men are now set to leave the country today for Cameroon where they will play a preparatory friendly on Tuesday before proceeding to Gabon, barring any new twist to the disgraceful tale.
Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela confirmed that the team would leave today.
“Everything has been resolved; the team is no longer going today but they are now going tomorrow,” he said.
“The players have been granted the $5 000 they wanted as match fees as well as $400 in foreign daily allowances, $150 in local daily allowances and $6 000 in winning bonus per match.”
Zifa on the other hand was offering the country’s football heroes $500 per match in appearance fees, $50 in local daily allowances and $150 in foreign daily allowances.
When Standardsport visited Rainbow Towers Hotel yesterday, where the team is staying, some players would occasionally pop into the reception area, seemingly unmoved and determined to hold a vigil until their demands were met.
While reports suggested that an agreement had been reached and the Warriors would leave the Harare International Airport at 3pm, one unnamed player rubbished the reports.
“Going? We are not going anywhere without our money. They are joking, just wait and see,” one of the players quipped when Standardsport asked whether the team was going in the afternoon.
With the clock ticking towards 2pm, the team emerged from the hotel rooms in batches. They were apparently coming out to have lunch while a hired Herentals College bus which was supposed to ferry the team to the airport was parked outside.
Zimbabwe’s third Afcon finals appearance stands in a precarious position due to Zifa’s poor administration and planning as well as the football mother body’s flawed value system.
The Zimbabwe Warriors’ snub of the send-off dinner exposed Zifa as well as the government through the Sports ministry’s disregard of the country’s sporting heroes.
The two have forged a strong partnership in feeding Zimbabwe’s football heroes with lies and empty promises, which appears to justify the course of action that the players resorted to in
order to get their dues.
Zifa still owes the women football team allowances for qualifying for the Rio Olympics Games as well as the Africa Women Cup on Nations, while the government through the Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane promised the Mighty Warriors housing stands which they have not seen nine months on.
The Phillip Chiyangwa-led Zifa is also believed to owe the locally-based Warriors allowances from the Cote d’voire friendly on Boxing Day and had allegedly lied to the players currently in camp that they had deposited daily allowances.
This latest impasse has also raised doubts over the existence of the much-publicised government rescue package for the Warriors’ Afcon trip believed to amount to $800 000.
In a press statement released by Zifa yesterday, CEO Joseph Mamutse blamed and warned the Warriors for yet another embarrassing episode on the football landscape.
“As the football authority, Zifa totally condemns the behaviour portrayed by the team and their desire to hold the whole nation at ransom in their quest to earn money that this economy cannot sustain,” part of the statement read.
Zimbabwe kickoff their Afcon campaign with a date against the Desert Foxes of Algeria