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The Mighty Warriors technical team was yesterday left seething with anger after their team was not provided with a training facility by their hosts Zambia ahead of a 2016 Rio Olympic first round qualifier first leg match at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka this afternoon.

The Zimbabwe team left Harare on Friday afternoon by road and arrived in Lusaka just after midnight.

They had hoped to have a morning training session yesterday before having a feel of the match venue in the afternoon.

However, they were told that the venue that they were supposed to use for their morning session was occupied, leaving them stranded at their hotel. Mighty Warriors assistant coach Yohannes Chikaola described the development as a “primitive and a classic African way of frustrating opponents”.

The team ended up having a loosening up session on an open space at the hotel, in front of bemused guests.

“We are not entirely surprised though by this treatment. It’s an African disease — a classic African way of frustrating an opponent,” said Chikaola.

“But we have become used to it. That is why you saw the players never looked surprised. They just carried on as if everything is normal. The only surprising part for us is that it is a southern African country doing it because we normally experience such treatment in west and north Africa, not in this part of the continent.

“But anyway, it has happened and we cannot allow it to distract us from the job at hand. We are here to play and try to get a positive result and that is exactly what we are going to do.”

More worrying for the Zimbabwe delegation is that they were afforded just an hour to have a feel of the match venue before making way for the home team.

The last time the Mighty Warriors and Zambia met was on June 8 last year in the second and final leg of the African Women Championship qualifier, with the latter claiming a 1-0 win to complete a 2-0 aggregate victory.

Defender Helen Mubanga scored a goal in both legs but it is the Zambian captain, the speedy Mupopo Kabange who has proven a huge threat whenever these two countries meet.

Chikaola however said there would be no special plans made for the winger, a professional 100m athlete who has represented her country in major competitions.

Instead, Chikaola said they are focusing on Zambia as a team, not on particular individuals.

If the Mighty Warriors progress to the next stage, they will face the winner between Ivory Coast and Tunisia.

Zimbabwe played Tunisia in 2011 in a friendly match in Egypt, winning the match 1-0 courtesy of a goal by Felistas Muzongondi. The Mighty Warriors have never played Ivory Coast before.

The task becomes even more daunting for the Mighty Warriors if they progress past this stage, as they will face the winner of the matches involving EgyptGhana and winner of Guinea BissauLiberia versus Cameroon in the fourth and final qualifying round.

The winner of the final qualifying round will join the other winner from the other qualifying group, to make up Africa’s two representatives at the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Rio.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard