Challenges creep in as Warriors training camp is aborted
Grace Chingoma, Harare Bureau
THERE was a false start to the Warriors’ camp for the 2017 African Cup of Nations with logistical challenges pegging back training for the opening two days.
The majority of the Warriors’ foreign legion had heeded calls to report to camp on Boxing Day but they had to be turned away as Zifa officials ran around looking for where to accommodate them.
The Warriors had initially been scheduled to camp at the Zifa Village in Mt Hampden but the facility experienced electricity and water problems forcing the start of camp to be called off.
Assistant coach Saul Chaminuka who is in charge in the absence of head coach Callisto Pasuwa, however, heaved a sigh of relief as the Warriors were later yesterday checked into a city hotel, which should pave the way for the start of training this morning.
The Zifa Village is being renovated with an independent contractor now running the place. although there have been major improvements at the complex it was deemed inadequate for the Warriors requirements.
Czech-based defender Costa Nhamoinesu was among the local and foreign players who checked in last night while Belgium-based forward Knowledge Musona is expected to arrive today after featuring for his club in a 3-1 losing cause on Boxing Day.
Zifa are however understood to be still looking for a more secluded facility for the team to camp after the coach’s proposals for a camp in the Lowveld or resort Kariba failed to materialise.
Pasuwa has made it clear that he wants a special retreat away from the distractions that come with being camped at a hotel in the CBD.
Meanwhile, Zifa have secured a kit supplier with the team’s regalia at the Africa Cup of Nations set to be supplied by Mafro, a Singapore sports kit manufacturing company.
The company which mainly deals with African clients, will also be dressing the Warriors’ rivals Senegal.
Mafro were also finalising with Zambian Football Association so that they can start to provide kits to the national team which all along was wearing Kappa.
The firm is already sponsoring three teams in the Zambian Super League including Nkana.
They also sponsor Ghanaian football club Asante Kotoko.
Yesterday our Harare Bureau could not establish the finer details surrounding the kit supply but the training kits and the playing kits are expected to arrive latest by Friday.
The package from Singapore will include a full range of uniforms ranging from track suits, anthem jackets, travelling golf T-shirts, casual wear for players and technical team as well as travelling bags among other regular stuff like training kits, bibs, shorts and caps.
Zifa have also confirmed the friendly match against Afcon hosts Gabon on January 7 in Libreville.
This means the Warriors itinerary for the tournament will see them leave Harare on January 5 and arrive in the West African country the following day.
The team will then connect to neighbouring Cameroon on January 8 for another warm-up game against the Indomitable Lions on January 10, in Yaounde, which will be their temporary home as they acclimatise with Gabon conditions.
Zimbabwe will then head to Gabon for the tournament which begins on January 14.