HomeSportSoccerWarriors get $88 000

Warriors get $88 000

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THE Warriors received $88 000 from the government yesterday for their camping allowances and travelling expenses to the African Nations Championships (Chan) finals, which start in South Africa on January 11.

WELLINGTON TONI

The money was released after a meeting between Sports, Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa, permanent secretary Thokozile Chitepo and Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa as a follow-up to the government’s pledge to support the national football team.

Yesterday, Langa hosted a luncheon for the players and the technical team, led by coach Ian Gorowa, at a lodge before they take a break ahead of their trip next week.

The Warriors will break for a few days following the cancellation of a proposed friendly match against Libya which had been set for the National Sports Stadium on Sunday after the North Africans failed to secure flights to Harare.

The Warriors will leave for South Africa on January 7 — the same day they will play their final preparatory match against Gabon in Johannesburg.

They have previously played and beaten Mozambique 2-1 at Barbourfields Stadium.

Langa said the rest of the money, from the $354 000 proposed budget by Zifa, would be released in due course.

“The road has been very bumpy, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and I want to commend the coach for keeping you, the players, focused on the job at hand. He has done a sterling job and I also want to thank all the Zimbabweans who have supported you in cash and kind.

“I heard that this day you received $2 000 and later $500. When we read in the Press that the coach had gone out of his way to buy dinner for you, he (Gorowa) said it was also his right to take you out if he has the money.

“We say thank you.

“Government support for the Warriors in particular and the sport in general is high on our mission and we want to assure you that you will not be walking alone during Chan.

“We have managed to source funding to cover travel costs, accommodation and allowances. We met this morning and a total of $88 000 was approved,” he said in his address.

“This is not a political statement; the money will be channelled to you. His Excellency (President Robert Mugabe) is in full support of this because football is a sport loved by the larger population of the country.”

After the address, the minister had a closed-door session with the players and the technical team, with media told to wait outside.
In an interview after lunch, he added: “This is just part of the money; the rest of it will come as we cannot pay now for some of the things that would be accrued in January and February.”

Before leaving, he toured the lodge where the Warriors are camped and seemed satisfied with the serene surroundings before paying for the lunch.

Sports, Arts and Culture deputy minister Tabetha Kanengoni-Malinga, Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze, Sports and Recreation Commission director-general Charles Nhemachena, women football boss Mavis Gumbo, Zifa board member for marketing Nigel Munyati, his development counterpart John Phiri and Eastern Region chief Fungai Chihuri attended the luncheon.

On the Libya friendly, Mashingaidze said: “The match has been cancelled as Libya failed to secure flights to Harare and will now fly straight on South Africa.

“The match against Gabon is still on on January 7 and has been cleared by the South African Football Association.
“The venue of the match will be confirmed in soon.

“The Warriors will leave on January 7 in the morning and play their match in the evening.
“The coach has indicated that he will release the players to wind up their things before they leave next week.”

The Warriors will begin their campaign at Athlone Stadium on January 12 at 5pm against Morocco.

The second match will be against Uganda at the same venue four days later before they round up their group stage campaign against Burkina Faso on January 20.

Cranes coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic has already dropped four players from his provisional 2014 Chan squad.

The players dropped are Tom Masiko of KCCA FC, Ismail Kazibwe from SC Vipers, URA midfielder Oscar Agaba including his club mate and goalkeeper Brian Bwete.

“I have no alternative, but to trim the team to 25 before I will also reduce by another two players for the final squad,” he told MTNFootball.com.

Micho said he wanted to remain with a sizeable number that he would work with ahead of the tournament that runs from January 11 to February 1 in South Africa.

The Cranes, who will be making their second appearance after playing in the 2011 edition in Sudan, are in Group B alongside Morocco, Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe.

Micho said it was unfortunate they would not have some build-up games ahead of the tournament and yet most of their opponents in the group like Zimbabwe and Morocco had been busy.

“We need to work very hard and get the players very fit and with the best set plays which will give us the chance to make it out of the group,” Micho said.

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