Home » General » Zifa Officials Abandon Warriors

ZIFA officials abandoned the Warriors in Harare yesterday as the team prepared to leave for Malawi for their 2017 Nations Cup qualifier against the Flames at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre this afternoon.

Coach Callisto Pasuwa, facing a major crisis, was forced to scramble for help as it dawned on him that they had been left alone by the people who are supposed to be their leaders.

Pasuwa sent an SOS to well-wishers to help them in the morning after he realised that they were now unlikely to even make the road trip that had been promised by the ZIFA leadership.

With the Warriors stuck at Daisy Lodge, the promised bus, which was supposed to take them to Malawi, did not arrive as scheduled in the morning amid reports that some ZIFA officials were looking at putting the team in a bus that would have other passengers.

“The first thing we heard was that a bus had been found, which was going to Malawi but had 15 other passengers who were booked on it, and we would be put on that bus for the trip,” sources in the Warriors camp told The Herald.

“There were no ZIFA officials to tell us what was happening even though we expected them to be here to be telling us the developments, stage by stage, so that we know the correct position of the trip.

“That’s when the coach started to panic because time was no longer on our side and it was becoming clear that we would not make the trip.

“I have never seen him in such a mood because he was really desperate and he kept calling some people who were not picking up their phones.

“There was no way the players would have agreed to go onto the same bus that had other passengers and the coach would not have allowed that because we are a team and it’s either we would have inconvenienced those passengers or they would inconvenienced us.”

Then, there was a breakthrough.

Pasuwa eventually got in touch with Cuthbert Chitima, a senior member of the Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries, and narrated their plight.

PHD leader Prophet Walter Magaya bailed the Warriors out on Thursday night, providing the financial guarantees which enabled them to agree to travel to Malawi yesterday to fulfil their tie against the Flames.

Magaya and Chitima once again found themselves driving to the lodge where the Warriors were staying yesterday, this time to sort out issues related to their transport.

“Remember, when the prophet went to see the boys he said he would pay the $500 match fees and that was delivered,” said the sources.

“He was also worried that for the boys to travel by road to Malawi a day before the game wasn’t ideal because he was concerned about fatigue when they plunge into battle.

“He tried to get the boys to fly to South Africa today and then connect to Malawi, but it’s never easy to arrange a late flight for such a big group and there was concern that maybe all the boys would not get seats on the JohannesburgLilongweBlantyre route and that would be another crisis.

“Don’t forget that when the Warriors flew out to their last World Cup qualifier in Guinea the majority of players and officials were either stranded in Kenya or Senegal and by the time that the match got underway, only about 12 players and the coach were there.

“So, this thing about flying was ruled out and it was agreed that they should go by road, but there was no bus and even when the bus was secured there was no money for fuel, about $1 700, which was needed for the trip.

“All this time, the ZIFA officials, especially the leadership, were not there and you would expect the chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze, to be running around to find a solution to the challenges.

“So, it was again left to the prophet to pay for the diesel and the bus and that’s how the boys eventually managed to travel otherwise it would have been a disaster.”

It could not be established as to what the $2 200 that was released by the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture, to cater for the team’s out-of-pocket allowances on Thursday was channelled to as that would have been enough to cater for the diesel.

“I think what is important here is that the same people who were saying that $42 000 had been secured and would be paid to the Warriors come next week were surprisingly not available to provide $1 700 and that tells a story on its own,” said the sources.

“You have a scenario that from around 9pm on Thursday night to about 7am today (yesterday), you had people, who ordinarily would have nothing to do with this trip, just working overtime to ensure that the Warriors travel and they were doing this through mobilising funds and then, after they had done that, being told that there was no transport.

“You sort that one out and you are then told that there is no diesel and all that need funding.”

It has since emerged that had it not been for Magaya’s intervention, the Warriors would not have made the trip to Malawi yesterday.

“The other thing is that some of these players are still hurt by the way that they were treated after CHAN, when they battled all the way to the semi-finals and earned $250 000 only for ZIFA to change goal posts and refuse to pay them half those earnings as promised,” said the sources.

“When you have the scenario, it’s hard for them to really believe our football leaders when they say that something will be paid next week.

“Something at the back of their mind is always telling the players that they are being taken for a ride.”

Source : The Herald