The Young Warriors camp was on Wednesday hit by a massive diarrhoea outbreak which almost threatened their participation in the last Group A soccer match against Swaziland in the Metropolitan Cosafa Under-20 Youth Championships being held in Botswana.
Team manager Eddie Chivero told NewsDay on Thursday that all the players and several members of the technical team went into the match suffering from the disease.
“All the players were complaining, and we were forced to substitute some players because they couldn’t carry on,” said Chivero.
“It can only be something we consumed at the hotel. It was not caused by the water we are drinking, that one is out. The players have not taken in tap water since we got here; they have been drinking mineral water only,” said the team manager.
Although Chivero was quick to dismiss any foul play, he said they would launch an investigation into the matter.
“I don’t think at this level of the game someone can do such a thing but we can’t rule it (food poisoning) out. I will take up the matter with the head of the delegation so that the issue can be investigated.”
In spite of the sickness, the Young Warriors went on to wallop Swaziland 3 – 1 to book a place in the semi-final of the competition where they take on Zambia today. Denver Mukamba, Nqobizitha Masuku and Morris Kadzola were on target for the Young Warriors.
Chivero said the team doctor attended to all the players after the match and confirmed everyone was doing fine and prepared for Zambia.
“We watched them (Zambia) playing Angola in one of their group matches, they are not a very intimidating side. We are quite confident of winning. In fact, we are looking forward to the final of the competition,” added Chivero.
He said the team would bring the cup home to put a smile on the silverware-starved nation.
“With the calibre of the players we have in camp anything is possible. Our players are disciplined, morale is high and we don’t want to disappoint the nation, they have been starved for glory for a long time now,” said Chivero.
However, Chivero expressed concern over the fitness of captain Simba Sithole who limped off the field on Wednesday with a knock. Sithole had a light training on Thursday and they were waiting for the team doctor to certify his fitness.