The Warriors technical team was yesterday left seething with anger, alleging that there were underhand manoeuvres by some elements within the football administration to sabotage the team ahead of their Group G World Cup football qualifier match against Mozambique on Sunday.
The team was denied access to the National Sports Stadium for their afternoon session yesterday, a move that the technical bench suspect is a ploy to bring them down.
When NewsDay Sport visited the training venue, coach Rahman Gumbo, his assistants Peter Ndlovu, David Mandigora, and Richard Tswatswa and team manager Nyika Chifamba were making frantic efforts to gain access to the stadium while the players were milling around.
The gates to the stadium were locked and an official from the Ministry of Public Works was adamant that he was not going to let the team train in the Main Arena and was taking orders “from my bosses”.
Chifamba was overheard complaining about the treatment, saying it was unheard of.
“We are treated even much better than this when we are away,” said Chifamba.
After a series of consultations, the official from the Ministry of Public Works allowed the team to train.
However, a visibly shaken Ndlovu quickly ordered the players into the team bus to the hotel without training.
Morale was very low as confusion reigned among the Warriors, who are still smarting from a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Guinea on Sunday.
“We are supposed to be the national team, but from this treatment, it seems we are not a national team. I don’t want to be involved in these internal politics neither do I want to comment about it. But if you see things happening like this, what am I supposed to think?” said Gumbo before driving off.
Zifa competitions manager Mabhande Mabhande yesterday said: “Bookings were made for the national team to have two training sessions at the National Sports Stadium today (yesterday), so I’m not sure how they could be locked out. I will have to check with the ministry because everything had been done.”
This is not the first time Gumbo has alleged there are people from within who are trying to sabotage his efforts.
Last week, on the eve of the Warriors’ Group G World Cup opening qualifier against Guinea at the National Sports Stadium, Gumbo said: “I have to be frank. There is just too much politics within Zimbabwean football which poisons everything.
There is too much backstabbing and there are always manoeuvres to bring down whoever is at the helm of the Warriors. I am here on temporary basis, but I know there are efforts to bring me down. What we need as Zimbabweans is to unite and support whoever is in charge. If I leave and someone else comes in, we should support that person and I pledge to do so. Even if you do not like the character, if he is in charge what Zimbabwe needs is for everyone to support him. We have the talent and good players, but as long as we pull in different directions we will not succeed.”
The Warriors squad is expected to leave for Maputo this afternoon.
Gumbo was expected to name his final 18 squad after yesterday’s training session, but could not do so after the disruption.
By yesterday, the team had been trimmed to 20 players with only two more to be axed.
But from the morning training session, it was clear that Gumbo would not make many changes to the team that played Guinea.
The 20 players in camp:
T Kapini, O Machapa, C Nyadombo, E Nyandoro, V Nyoni, T Nengomasha, A Gutu, O Karuru, K Musona, K Billiat, T Chinyama, M Jani, W Katsande, O Bhasera, D Mukamba, T Mandaza, B Pritchard, R Chinyengetere, T Kumbuyani, A Chaka