Warriors’ hopes of getting a preparatory match ahead of the African Nations Championships (Chan) finals have been dealt a big blow after proposed opponents Zambia opted to play Kuwait on New Year’s Eve.
Zambia will now play Kuwait in an international friendly match in Cairo, Egypt, on Friday instead of Zimbabwe despite assurances from the local football body that a match between the two countries was being organised before the end of the year.
Initially, the friendly match between Zimbabwe and Zambia was confirmed by acting Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze three weeks ago for December 19 at Rufaro Stadium.
But the day fell on the last day of the Premiership decider and Zambia opted to play against Kuwait as part of their preparations for the second edition of the Chan tournament set for Sudan in February.
Last week, Zifa board member (marketing) Nigel Munyati told a weekly paper that the match was still on, but the latest developments indicate that Zambia had chosen to move ahead with their preparations instead of waiting for the Warriors.
On Monday, both Mashingaidze and Munyati were not available for comment.
According to reports from Lusaka, the Zambia national team, comprising mostly of local and holidaying foreign players, leave Tuesday morning for Cairo to continue their preparations for Chan.
The Zimbabwe camp has been hit with mishaps with no substantive coach in place despite assurances from the Zifa leadership that a local coach would be in place by at least Christmas or the New Year.
Black Mambas technical director Madinda Ndlovu has been placed in temporary charge of the team until a substantive coach is found. He led a mixed group of local and foreign players to a 3-1 win over Mozambique in November in Maputo.
After a massive boob resulted in the failure to obtain a work permit for Belgian Tom Saintfiet, Zifa president Cuthbert Dube and his two deputies, Ndumiso Gumede and Kenny Marange will now select the coach instead of a technical committee.
In the past, the Warriors have failed to get international friendly matches-even on Fifa dates due to low ranking and match-fixing scandals that have rocked the Warriors. Zimbabwe are ranked 30th in Africa below teams such as Central African Republic, Tanzania and Cape Verde Islands.
Cape Verde, who are the Warriors’ opponents in the 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifiers, are 17th on the continent while the other group members Mali and Liberia are positioned 13th and 43rd respectively.
Zimbabwe has been drawn against Chan debutantes South Africa, 2009 silver medalists Ghana and Niger for the event to be staged by Sudan from February 4-25 next year.
The Warriors had hoped to use the Cosafa Senior Challenge as part of their preparations before the games were cancelled. In the event that they fail to get another match before February-and as coachless as they are, the Warriors will go to Sudan not adequately prepared.