Mapeza blasts Zifa

Warriors coach Norman Mapeza has blamed Zifa for poor travel arrangements after the team left for Botswana for an international friendly match against the Zebras. The squad travelled by bus yesterday morning.

The match starts at 4pm at the UB Stadium in Gaborone tomorrow.

The former Warriors captain said travelling for an international match by road was not ideal for a determined national football team.

“This is not ideal for a serious national football team. I know they might be facing financial challenges, but to be frank, this is not good for the team. I would not want to travel by road. Do you think I would prefer to go to Botswana by road?” asked Mapeza.

“Zifa knew about this game last year and they should have planned well (in advance) for it. Players were notified late, so I think there has to be improvement in terms of organisation,” said Mapeza.

Botswana are using the international friendly as a dress rehearsal for the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals which start on January 21 in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, while the Warriors will be using it as a warm-up match ahead of their 2013 preliminary round Afcon qualifier against Burundi next month before the second leg in June, after the European championships.

Mapeza will have to do with locally-based players. All foreign-based players — Knowledge Musona, Ovidy Karuru, Vusa Nyoni, Tapiwa Kapini, Carlington Nyadombo, Ramson Zhuwawo, Simba Sithole, Tinashe Nengomasha, Thomas Sweswe, Lincoln Zvasiya, Zhaimu Jambo, Tafadzwa Rusike and Khama Billiat were barred by their clubs from taking part in the match. In withdrawing Kapini, Nyadombo and Zhuwawo, AmaZulu manager James Dhlamini told Kick Off: “Our players are not available for that match because we haven’t given them permission.

“We have already booked their flights back for January 8 and we cannot change those dates as the coach wants all those players back at training fresh the next day.

“This is a non-Fifa calendar date match that falls at a time when we want all our players back to prepare for the second round. We have already informed Zifa and their national team manager about this. We also didn’t like the idea of them travelling a very long distance from Harare to Gaborone by road.”

Oscar Machapa and Gilbert Mapemba, previously released by Moroka Swallows, were also recalled to South Africa.

Conrad Whitby, Cliff Sekete, Tendai Samanja, Pardon Chinungwa, Masimba Mambare and Graham Ncube were the latest editions to the squad.

Yesterday morning, Mapeza embarked on the 1 039km journey from Harare with the galaxy of local stars hoping to provide the Zebras with enough competition for the inaugural appearance in the continental games.

The coach has already acknowledged respect for the Zebras following their feat, while the hosts’ coach Stanley Tshosane, who has been expecting a full strength team, would be disappointed at playing local lads.

The Warriors, however, should be a competitive outfit given that a number of players in the team have international experience and recently took part in the Cecafa Tusker Senior Challenge Cup in Tanzania.

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