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Hwange headache

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Hwange left for Sudan yesterday for their first round, second leg tie against Al Amal Atbara on Friday at the Stade Al-Amal Atbara, amid indications the match could be moved to Sunday.

This means Hwange would have to foot expenses for the extra day they will spend in Sudan if the match is played on Sunday and they fail to get a flight out, as Caf states hosts can only cater for visitors for a maximum of five days.

The coal miners left Harare yesterday aboard an Ethiopian Airways flight and are expected in Khartoum tomorrow before connecting to the host town, 250km away from the capital city.

Zifa communications manager Nicky Dlamini-Moyo confirmed the coal miners’ departure and said they were expected to be in Atbara by tomorrow for Friday’s return leg.

Dlamini-Moyo yesterday said security fears for the Zimbabwean team had been allayed, but stated there had been indications the Sudanese club wanted to move the match to Sunday.

“They are leaving this afternoon to South Africa and then connecting to Ethiopia. They will then fly from Ethiopia to Khartoum (Sudan) and then take another flight to Atbara. If the itinerary has not been changed, they are expected to be in Atbara on Wednesday (tomorrow).

“The match is being played on April 6, but there had been indications Al Amal wanted the match to be played on Sunday, but from our communication with Caf, the match is to be played on April 6,” Dlamini-Moyo said.

“We have been assured the team will be safe. There are no security threats,” she added.

Hwange secretary Burzil Dube, who is travelling with the team, also confirmed the departure, but said he had not received any communication from Al Amal on their intention to have the match moved to Sunday.

Efforts to get names of the members of the delegation that travelled were fruitless yesterday, but Hwange will definitely be without defender Munyaradzi Mungadze, who was shown the red card in the first leg match at the Colliery by Malawian referee Raphael Anthony.

Another defender Tonisani Sibelo,
who was injured during the 1-1 draw at the Colliery two weeks ago and did not play in the local league match against Quelaton on Sunday, might not have travelled with the team.

Technical manager Tennant Chilumba could have been forced to travel with former captain Gerald Ndlovu who replaced midfielder Nkosana Siwela in the first leg tie when Mungadze was given his marching orders.

Hwange, who have said they were still in the competition after being held by Al Amal to a 1-1 draw, will be pinning their hopes on captain Rodwell Chinyengetere and midfielder Ocean Mpofu with Allan Tavariswa, Gilbert Zulu and Francisco Zvikumbawire upfront.

FC Platinum, who are playing El Merreikh in the second leg, first round of the Champions League on Saturday night, will follow tomorrow.

Said Phil Muvengwa, the team secretary yesterday: “The team, which comprises 20 players and five technical officials, leaves on Wednesday (tomorrow) via Ethiopia and will connect to Khartoum at 11:50pm, getting there at 2am.

“We also have a number of our members and supporters who have paid for their own tickets for the match.”

Both Hwange and Platinum were planning to charter an Air Zimbabwe flight for the trip, which could have accommodated more than 100 of their supporters, but the charges proved exorbitant.
While the two teams fly to Sudan, the war between the south and north is raging on, according to reports.

Sudan said South Sudan’s army had attacked the Sudan side of the disputed Heglig oil field area, the scene of several clashes in the past days, state news agency SUNA said.

“The (Sudanese) armed forces are now dealing with the enemy forces,” army spokesman Sawarmi Khalid Saad told SUNA.

There was no immediate response from South Sudan, which accused Khartoum of having bombed two areas on the oil-producing southern side of the border.

“The government of Sudan attacked Manga today at two in the morning,” Pagan Amum, head of South Sudan’s negotiating team, told reporters in Addis Ababa, where the African Union is trying to restart talks between the neighbours.

“Panakuach, also in Unity State, has been subjected to aerial bombardment today (yesterday), including attacks by helicopter gunship,” he said. “As we speak, Sudan is bombing South Sudan.”

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