The Zimbabwe Warriors’ trip to the inaugural African Nations Championship finals is in doubt as the soccer governing body ZIFA had not secured the needed funds. The team was set to depart Friday morning for Cote d’Ivoire.
Unlike its “big brother”, the biennial African Cup of Nations, this two-week gathering of eight countries is restricted to footballers who play in their country of birth.
By last night Government had not committed its self in bailing out the trip sighting lack of cash.
A total of US$138 000 is needed to cover the cost of the team’s airfares, the players’ allowances and appearance fees, the officials’ allowances and expenses related to their medical requirements.
But the issue of daily allowances for the traveling party and appearance fees for the players and their technical team remained unresolved last night, forcing the Zifa board to go into an emergency meeting to try and find a solution.
The meeting followed a report made to the association by team captain Gilbert Banda late last night that some of his troops would rather choose not to travel to Cote d’Ivoire if there was no assurance that they would get their allowances and appearance fees.
The Minister of Education, Sport, Art and Culture David Coltart advised the Warriors, at a farewell ceremony in the capital last night, that the Government had only secured funds for them to fly to Cote d’Ivoire.
He said his attempts to secure funds to cover the team’s allowances and appearance fees had failed because the Government was also battling other urgent challenges which needed funding.
Coltart said if teachers could be paid an allowance of US$100 a month, the national team players also needed to put their projected earnings into context during this difficult phase.
Meanwhile, Ghana the likeliest winners of the tournament.
It is in the same group with Zimbabwe, Libya and DR Congo.