‘We’ll continue to fund teams’

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Zifa president Cuthbert Dube — basking in the glory of being appointed to the organising committee of the 2013 Confederations Cup — says he will continue to fund national teams when the need arises despite the criticism he has received.

Dube was speaking during a brief send-off ceremony for the Mighty Warriors who flew to Gaborone, Botswana, at lunch yesterday for the first leg of the Africa Women Championships (AWC) qualifier.

He funded numerous Warriors’ trips during the failed 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, pays staff salaries and part of coach Norman Mapeza’s salary, which has provoked a bashing from football administrators.

They charge the gesture is conflict of interest and vote-buying.

“I don’t understand the culture of people here. When you do good, they always criticise you. I will not relent from assisting Zifa at all, as long as it is for the good of the nation.

“People who go to Zifa to make money are the problem. They want to benefit instead of assisting the national association. Those are the misguided missiles in football that we do not want and we will not allow them in football.

“Zifa will not collapse because we will always assist and the government will also assistant because we are having a good conversation with them over these and other issues. We also have various sponsors.”

Turning to the Mighty Warriors, Dube revealed that $31 500 had been given to the national association to cover the trip.

“Donors have chipped in with $31 500 for the trip and I will not mention their names since stories will start circulating. You deserve our unconditional support because we are satisfied with the performances in the last year.

“I will personally give you some allowances for the Unity Day victory against South Africa and if you beat Botswana on Saturday, I will add more.

So just go there and do what you have always done home and away . . . bring us a win,” Dube said.

The Mighty Warriors, largely unchanged from the team that beat South Africa 3-0 on Unity Day, will meet Nigeria if they manage to get past Botswana, who are really not expected to provide much competition.

Coach Rosemary Mugadza said it was their dream to qualify for the AWC finals.

“With support from the corporate world and the government, we can achieve what we want and I am hoping we will go there and win.

In two year’s time, we should be thinking about the World Cup qualifiers, but we need to play in the Africa Women Championships finals first,” she said.

The last time Botswana women football was involved competitively was during the Cosafa Women Championships hosted and won by Zimbabwe. They crashed out of the tournament in the first round after losing to Tanzania 3-1, South Africa 4-0 and Zambia 4-1.

Mugadza on Monday announced an 18-strong squad to travel to Gaborone. The only notable exclusions from the squad are Nokuthula Ndlovu, Lynette Mutokuto and Rufaro Machingura.

Ndlovu and Mutokuto are nursing injuries while the gangly Machingura has been overlooked again due to fitness problems.

Mighty Warriors squad:

O Chingao, C Dzingirai, T Mandaza, R Mutyavaviri, P Mujuru, D Bhobho, P Masitara, N Majika, E Msipa, T Mairosi, M Nyaumwe, E Jeke, E Chibanda, S Makoto, K Bhasopo, R Makore, V Bepete, R Neshamba.