TEAM Zimbabwe for the Cossasa games set for Namibia this week found themselves stuck in Zambia on Tuesday and were set to arrive at their final destination this morning, on the day of the opening ceremony for the four day event.
HENRY MHARA IN KATIMA MULILO, NAMIBIA
The team of over 130 students under NASH and NAPH travelling on two buses, left Bulawayo by road on Tuesday and the initial plan was to arrive in Windhoek yesterday morning ahead of the games’ kick-off this morning.
However, the team travelled via Zambia instead of the normal route of going through Botswana and found themselves stuck at the Katima Mulilo border post — the access point from Zambia into Namibia — after failing to beat the 6pm deadline when the border closes.
The team went via Zambia because most of the students are travelling on Emergency Travel Documents which Botswana does not accept.
The visibly fatigued students put up inside the buses and were expected to continue with their grueling journey of over 1 800km this morning after completing immigration formalities.
The problem began when the team left Bulawayo late, just before midday on Tuesday instead of the scheduled time of 3am, because the buses had failed to get police clearance on time.
Arriving at Victoria Falls border post at around 4pm, and after a quick lunch break, the team did their immigration formalities on the Zimbabwean side.
It took less than 30 minutes for the whole delegation’s travelling documents to be stamped, but the same process would take over two hours to complete on the Zambian side.
And as it became clear that they would not beat the time ahead, the team had a brief stopover in Livingstone, Zambia, where they got their dinner before proceeding to Katima Mulilo, a journey of about 300km — arriving at midnight.
The trip from Mulilo to Windhoek is about 1 300km, and with the team now expected to arrive a few hours before the games start, the long and tiring journey will certainly affect the players’ performance.
Zimbabwe will be represented at the annual regional games in girls football, basketball (both boys and girls), volleyball (both boys and girls) and netball.