ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa has challenged Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa and his team to go and put up a strong fight in Gabon and win the African Cup of Nations Cup (Afcon) trophy.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Chiyangwa, still basking in the glow of his triumph last week when he was elected unopposed as the Council of Southern African Football Association (Cosafa) president — a first for Zimbabwean football — said his victory was an indication that “it can be done”.
Speaking during the unveiling of a $250 000 sponsorship package for the Warriors under NetOne’s Fusion brand in Harare yesterday, Chiyangwa said he worked hard to convince all regional leaders to vote for him.
He said the Warriors should put up a similar show in their bid to bring the Afcon trophy to Zimbabwe.
“There is always a first time for everything. I heard Net One acting chairman Peter Chingoka talking about the history of the Warriors since they participated at the Afcon in 2004 and 2006. They were eliminated in the early stages of the tournament on those two occasions. Now I am saying to Pasuwa the money is here. When the boys go into camp, they ask about the money. You tell them the money is there. All you need is to focus on your matches. You should go and fight to bring the cup here. There is always a first time. Look what I did, I won the Cosafa presidency for the first time,” Chiyangwa said.
Chiyangwa, reliving his victory, said he met with nine football leaders in the region who assured him of their votes a day before the election, prompting his challenger Danny Jordan of South Africa to chicken out.
“I worked hard to win the Cosafa presidency. I had to travel to all the 14-member countries in the region. A day before the election, I met with nine football leaders and they assured me that they would vote for me. And when those who were challenging me heard that we had met and had been assured of their votes, they withdrew and I was elected unopposed. That’s the Zanu PF style, even if it means sleeping with them in the mountains. So there is a first time for everything,” Chiyangwa said.
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The NetOne sponsorship deal will cover the Warriors’ campaign in Gabon next month including airfares and players’ allowances.
NetOne stressed that the money would not be deposited into the Zifa account, but would go directly to service providers.
Chingoka said they are glad to partner Zifa and would renew the contract with the association if the newly signed contract is handled professionally.
The Warriors have qualified for the Afcon finals twice before, but failed to go beyond the group stages on both occasions.
Zimbabwe have been drawn, at the biennial soccer showcase in Group B alongside Algeria, Senegal and Tunisia.
They will play a warm-up match against Ivory Coast in Abidjan on Boxing Day before facing Cameroon on January 10 for another friendly match.
The match against hosts Gabon on January 5 is yet to be confirmed.