ZIFA faces still punishment if they fail to fly the team to Guinea

HARARE – The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) has written to Caf to try and change the Warriors’ 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Guinea from tomorrow to Monday.

Zifa failed to secure flights in time to arrive in Conakry to catch Sunday’s 7pm kick-off after securing funds to finance the trip late yesterday afternoon from NetOne.

“Zifa is facing serious challenges in flights connecting to Conakry, Guinea, we request that we move the game from Sunday, September 4, 2016 to Monday, September 5, 2016,” acting Zifa chief executive officer Joseph Mamutse wrote to Caf secretary-general Hicham El Amrani last night.

“The flight we have secured only arrives in Conakry on Sunday at 20.00 hours (Guinea Time). Your urgent consideration of this matter will be greatly appreciated.”

It was not clear whether Zifa’s request would be granted by the time of going to press last night.

In the event Caf refuse to grant Zifa’s wish then Zimbabwe is likely to face a ban and a hefty fine from the continental football governing body.

Guinea will also likely seek compensation for all the costs they incurred during preparations for the trip.

Initially, the Warriors had been earmarked to leave Harare on Thursday morning, however, the team had to change their travel arrangements after Zifa failed to secure the funding for the trip.

In the end, Zifa was bailed out by mobile company NetOne, who chipped in with $68 217 to cater for the team’s travelling and accommodation costs for the trip.

Despite getting the money, making the journey to Conakry proved tricky since most flights had been fully-booked by late yesterday.

Efforts were made to try and charter a plane but that option also hit a brick wall with Zifa being able to only gets seats for the team on a flight from Harare early this morning.

The problem was getting connecting flights from Nairobi, Kenya to Conakry with the earliest flight only reaching the Guinea capital on Sunday evening an hour after the scheduled kick-off.

European-based players Costa Nhamoinesu, Knowledge Musona, Matthew Rusike and Marvellous Nakamba were also still at their various bases and were expected to arrive on Sunday morning.

Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa was not impressed by the chaotic travel arrangements but remained confident that the trip would be possible.

“We have been talking to the boys, it’s very unfortunate, however, for some of the boys who are abroad but we have an assignment and we should be able to fulfil it,” Pasuwa said.

“We spoke over the phone and I don’t think we would be able to have enough time to rehearse with them as they will go straight onto the field of play. We will try and talk and motivate the players so that we can come out with a good result.”

Zimbabwe have already qualified for the Afcon finals to be held in Gabon early next year after reaching an assailable 11 points and a better head-to-head than the other teams in Group L.

Pasuwa’s side remains unbeaten in the group after securing three wins and two draws in the five matches they have played so far.

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