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Send Warriors to army barracks: MP


HARARE East MP, Terrence Mukupe (Zanu PF) yesterday suggested that the national football team, the Warriors should be sent to army barracks, for embarrassing the nation at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), where they were eliminated in the initial stage.

BY veneranda langa

Zimbabwe drew against Algeria before losing to Senegal and Tunisia to bow out of the competition.

Mukupe made the suggestion after Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane had been asked by Buhera West MP Oliver Mandipaka (Zanu PF) to explain government plans to ensure the Warriors would produce better results in the future.

“All players were given $85 000 each when our country is suffering and they lost,” Mukupe said.

“Do you have a policy so that the Warriors are put in army barracks to perform national service because in Cameroon it happened before, and the Warriors must do national service so that our money comes back?” he said.

Hlongwane, who first apologised to Parliament and the nation for the team’s poor performance, said there was no such policy to place the Warriors in army barracks as payback for their loss.

“Zifa asked for money from the government and they were paid before playing in Gabon. Government was supposed to assist their welfare. We want to rebuild the team looking at 2019 so that we have a team that can go up to Afcon finals,” he said.

Buhera South MP, Joseph Chinotimba (Zanu PF) then suggested that the team should reimburse some of the allowances and bonuses following their early exit.

“When you gave the Warriors the money, you targeted that they would spend the whole month at Afcon. They failed to spend that month and Parliament is now saying if you gave them money for accommodation and other things for the full month, they should return the change,” he said.

Hlongwane said the money they were paid was for match fees for the three games they played. Accommodation and transport for all teams at Afcon is taken care of by the Confederation of African Football, who are the tournament organisers.

“It was for appearance fees and bonuses. There is no change that we are going to demand from the Warriors,” the minister said.

He said the government would now focus on developing 105 centres they have identified to turn them into centres of sporting excellence to develop talent for different sports.

But, Norton MP, Temba Mliswa (independent) said the pledge by the government to develop centres of sporting excellence was untrue, as Treasury failed to fulfil financial commitments to develop them in the 2017 National Budget.

MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese then raised the issue of discrimination of the Mighty Warriors, saying they did well and represented the country at the Rio Olympics and at the African Women Cup of Nations (Awcon), but were never given $85 000 each like their male counterparts.

“They were given $5 to go back home for those staying in Harare and $15 for those from outside Harare yet they represented the country at high levels,” he said.

“There is no policy to discriminate on the basis of gender. With the case of the Olympics, they did requested for funding from the government and $120 000 was disbursed, but their welfare was facilitated by the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee to the extent they paid a measly transport allowance, but they were paid full appearance allowances,” Hlongwane replied.

With respect to the Awcon, Hlongwane said they requested $1 million and since there was no money, he lobbied the corporate world to assist, but with no luck.

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