The Zimbabwe Under-20 men football team has finally been given the green light to travel to South Africa for the 27th edition of the Cosafa Challenge Cup by the government after Zifa’s initial request was turned down last week.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Zifa had their request to send the team to the regional competition scheduled for December 3-13 at Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa dismissed due to the association’s failure to abide by the set regulations for sports tours outside the country.
The football governing body had appealed the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) decision to Sports minister Kirsty Coventry, but to no avail.
“Honourable V P Chiwenga and Honourable Kirsty Coventry in their respective official capacities of Health and Sport ministers approved today the Under-20 tour to South Africa upon recommendation from SRC’s Covid-19 board committee,” SRC chairman Gerald Mlotshwa said in an interview with Standardsport yesterday morning before a statement was released.
“Zifa has apologised for the manner in which the application was initially handled and that apology has been accepted,” he added.
“Pursuant to the appeal by Zifa for the Zimbabwe Football national
Under-20 (Men) participation in the Cosafa Tournament from 3-13 December 2020 in South Africa, the Sports and Recreation Commission is happy to announce that the approval for the Under-20s to participate in the Cosafa Tournament has been granted,” read the official statement from SRC.
“The approval was granted by the Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation ministry in conjunction with that of Health and Childcare.”
Zifa re-submitted their request for approval following the guidance by the Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation minister regarding their “appeal” wherein they were advised to seek exemption for non-compliance from the SRC.
“Zifa will be required to strictly adhere to both the national and international protocols for the prevention and containment of Covid-19 given the increase in the number of confirmed positive cases in the country and hosting province.
“We wish the Under-20s all the success as they represent the country,” the SRC said.
Coached by Tonderai Ndiraya, the Young Warriors are in Group A alongside hosts South Africa, Lesotho and Mozambique for the Cosafa competition.
Zifa expressed delight at the approval for the Under-20 team to travel to South Africa.
“We confirm having been informed by the SRC that the U-20 has been granted clearance to travel to South Africa for the U-20 Cosafa tournament. “We are grateful to the government and we are currently working on their travel arrangements,” Zifa communications and competition manager Xolisani Gwesela said.