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Warriors live in hell


National team players, as the country’s sports ambassadors, should be treated befittingly, but the dire conditions the Warriors are being subjected to ahead of the African Nations Championships (Chan) will leave any aspiring Peter Ndlovus with a sour taste in the mouth.

The exclusively home-based Warriors squad will participate at the bi-annual soccer tournament scheduled to take place in Sudan between February 4 and March 25.

It will be the second time that Zimbabwe will dance with the best from the continent.

But the team that is expected to raise Zimbabwe’s flag high at the championships in the North African country is literally living in hell at a city lodge, which is located in the capital’s “red light district” and sandwiched by nightclubs famed for the wrong reasons.

A member of the Warriors team described the lodge as “humiliating and situated in the wrong place” for a team that is preparing for a serious competition and representing the country.

When NewsDay Sport visited the lodge yesterday afternoon, the players were locked indoors and refused to grant any interviews for fear of victimisation.

The players’ laundry could be seen hanging on the windows for everyone to see while a makeshift cooking place had been improvised at the back of the building.

The lodge, according to sources, usually offers bed and breakfast but set up the cookery of sorts at the back of the lodge to prepare lunch and dinner specifically for the Warriors.

The food, according to an official with the team, was sub-standard. Chan is a tournament for African players plying their trade in their home leagues.

While the Warriors are wallowing in embarrassing conditions, Angola sent their team to Brazil at Zico Football Academy, in Rio de Janeiro, to prepare for the same competition.

Zimbabwe’s opponents, Ghana, have been in camp in Kenya for the past two weeks where they have played that country’s top clubs such as Gor Mahia.

Ghana finished as runners- up in the inaugural edition two years after falling to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Niger and South Africa are also in the same group as the Warriors and Ghana. The Warriors, who are under the leadership of caretaker coach Madinda Ndlovu, are expected to jet out of the country for the competition next week.

Zifa acting chief excutive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze defended the scenario saying: “That is an acceptable place to stay because they have televisions and good accommodation. We are trying to live within our means.”

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