The Zimbabwe Warriors who were expected to leave for Sudan in the afternoon to take part in the second edition of the African Nations Championships (Chan) were still stuck in the capital on Thursday night.
The Warriors were expected to leave Harare aboard Kenyan Airways via Nairobi, Kenya, but were still at a local hotel amid revelations that Zifa submitted the team’s tickets to the airline late.
They are, however, expected to fly out on Thursday at 0150hrs using the same route.
When NewsDay Sport visited the team at the hotel where they were staying the team had booked out in anticipation they would leave aboard the afternoon flight.
They had to check in again after being told the trip had been cancelled.
Head of delegation Patrick Hokonya said he had only received the news from Zifa that the journey would be delayed to Thursday morning.
In a statement, on Wednesday night, Zifa acting chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze said the hold-up had been caused by a minor logistical problem and confirmed the team would be leaving today.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association wishes to advise that due to logistical problems, the Chan squad will now leave for Sudan at 0150hrs on February 3 and will land in Khartoum at 2010hrs on the same day,” read the statement.
Mashingaidze said the team would then proceed to their base in Madany, some 150km out of the Sudanese capital city, Khartoum.
While the Warriors, whose preparations for the tournament have not been ideal to say the least, were still marooned in Harare, their opponents in what looks like a tough Group B have already touched down in Sudan and were already acclimatising to the hot conditions of the central African county.
Zimbabwe have been grouped with neighbours and debutants South Africa, Ghana and Niger.
South Africa arrived in Madany on Sunday and began their training on Monday whilst Niger touched down on Monday and the Black Stars landed on Wednesday morning before proceeding to training in the afternoon.
The Warriors will kick-start their campaign with a relatively easy clash against the relatively unknown Niger on Saturday, and for the second year running will resume their interesting tussle with the Black Stars of Ghana four days later.
The Madinda Ndlovu-coached side will finish their group matches with a mouthwatering derby against old nemesis South Africa on February 13.
Meanwhile, Zifa have finally dumped the Warriors official kit supplier Legea and are now hunting for a new sponsor.
Speaking at the team’s low-key farewell party on Tuesday night, Zifa board member (marketing) Nigel Munyati confirmed they had cut ties with the controversial Belgian kit sponsor.
“We used to have a relationship with them but that has come to an end,” said Munyati. “You can take it as a fact that we are no longer affiliated to Legea and we are now working on the new sponsor,” added Munyati.
Zifa signed the Legea deal in 2006 but the relationship has not been that good from the start with the latter taking the domestic soccer governing body to court on several occasions over breach of contract.
The relations soured late last year when the Warriors played a friendly match against Bafana Bafana dressed in a rival Adidas kit.