A ZIMBABWE women football official on Tuesday attacked some Zanu PF ministers and stakeholders stampeding to congratulate and offer assistance to the Mighty Warriors, accusing them of dumping them in their hour of need and only to resurface after the team’s historic qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
BY MOSES MATENGA
In an emotional speech during a dinner hosted by Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni at Town House to celebrate the historic victory, women football board member for competitions Cecilia Gambe said the Mighty Warriors went through hell on the road to Rio, with some ministers giving them a cold shoulder.
This came as Zanu PF ministers and stakeholders were falling over each singing praises to the Mighty Warriors, who beat Cameroon 1-0, with Rudo Neshamba scoring the priceless goal on an historic Sunday afternoon at Rufaro Stadium.
Gambe said at one point, a female minister snubbed them when they went to her office to seek assistance and claimed the unnamed minister, through a secretary, said she was rushing to her farm.
“We went to different ministries looking for donations, but in most cases, we got none. I want to thank parents for sacrificing and having their children eat matemba (dried kapenta). Some of the ministers would say l can’t see you, l am rushing to my farm,” she said.
“Several ministers shut the doors on us and would even send their secretaries. We would ask for water and it’s sad some of those ministers are now celebrating with us. Some are coming to celebrate, but where were they when the girls were eating matemba?” she quizzed.
“Some of us slept in cars because we did not have options. It was tough. I hope the Press is here, the girls were treated like second-class citizens,” she said.
“We did not have anywhere to go in most instances. Some came from Bulawayo. I stay in Mutare and we did not have anywhere to go. Staffers at OK Supermarket Fife Avenue knew us because we would walk in early in the morning and buy our buns. We would buy our $1 sadza and we did not care. We learnt the hard way and it was a tough journey.”
“On the Ivory Coast game, no one wanted to give us money. We failed to go to there and got punished, but (Zifa CEO Jonathan) Mashingaidze convinced Fifa and we got a chance.”
Gambe turned her fire on journalists who wrote “negative stories” on the alleged abuse of funds donated by Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries leader Walter Magaya, leading to his pulling-out.
“We got help from Magaya, but he abandoned us. He refused to give us money because journalists wrote lies. Don’t kill the sponsorship. Don’t get paid to destroy the lives of these girls. If you are against Mashingaidze, do whatever you want with him. If you want, beat him with an iron bar or whatever, but don’t destroy the lives of the young girls,” she continued.
Gambe, however, revealed that despite the Mighty Warriors’ success, the girls had no busfare to take them back to their respective homes.
Team captain Felistas Muzongondi pleaded with Manyenyeni for residential stands as a token of appreciation as they had done the country proud.
She said most of the girls were from poor families and had nothing to show for their dedication to duty, hence the passionate plea for stands.
Manyenyeni noted the request, but said it should be a collective thing where all local authorities should be involved and honor the “golden girls”.