LACK of meticulous planning by the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) has plunged the proposed international friendly against neighbours Malawi into further chaos as the football federation was by last night still struggling to raise a team following the withdrawal of several Europe-based stars for various reasons, including the late dispatch of invitation letters.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The confusion surrounding the trip to Malawi is an embarrassing episode which exposes the Zifa secretariat’s incompetence in handling important national issues.
The Felton Kamambo-led Zifa board initially had no plans to engage an opponent in an international friendly match ahead of the massive back-to-back 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifier against the Desert Foxes of Algeria who are the reigning African champions.
The Zifa board only relented after pressure from Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic who indicated that it was necessary to play an international friendly match before the crucial qualifiers if success was to be achieved.
An invitation by Malawi for the international friendly also forced the football federation to reconsider their position.This forced Zifa to hastily dispatch letters of invitation to players’ respective clubs in Europe.
It now appears they failed to do it within the prescribed minimum time of two weeks.
The Zifa board’s decision to jettison team manager Wellington Mupandare who was always in touch with the players is now haunting them.
Despite conducting interviews with some prospective candidates for the important post, no one has been given the job.
Zifa also applied to the government for approval to travel to Malawi late. The government only approved the trip yesterday.
Sports and Recreation Commission director-general Prince Mupazviriho told NewsDay Sport on Tuesday that the delay in approval of the trip was not their problem but Zifa who submitted their application late.
Logarusic had named a 17-man squad largely dominated by European based players as home-based players and those in South Africa have not been active due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, those plans are now in jeopardy with several players withdrawing from the team.
Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela, however, insisted the team will be ready today where it will be announced at a Press conference.
Tanzania-based striker Prince Dube, who was expected to be part of the travelling squad, excused himself on Tuesday after reportedly sustaining a hamstring injury in the Vodacom Premier League when he scored a brace for his side Azam FC in their 4-2 home win over Kagera Sugar on Sunday.
France-based Tino Kadewere, Marvellous Nakamba, Tendai Darikwa and Macauley Bonne (England) and Terrence Dzvukamanja (South Africa) might also not make the trip.