Sikhumbuzo Moyo in Cairo, Egypt
CHINA-based striker Nyasha Mushekwi has undertaken to personally pay the Warriors’ outstanding balances to avert a potentially catastrophic abandonment of the Total Africa Cup of Nations tournament that is ongoing here.
According to sources in the Zimbabwe camp, the former Caps United forward, who has since been ruled out of the tournament even though he trained last night, spoke to the players about the importance of fulfilling the remaining match or matches as well as the damage that withdrawing will have on the players’ future and the country’s image.
“Mushekwi said he was prepared to use his own funds and asked that we rethink about our threat not to fulfill the DRC game on Sunday,” said one of the players.
Zimbabwe head of delegation Farai Jere, while confirming that there were issues over allowances for the players, said there was never a suggestion to withdraw from the tournament.
He said the players will fulfill Sunday’s final Group A match against the Democratic Republic of Congo, a game which the team has to win to enhance their chances of making history by progressing to the knockout stages of the Afcon finals.
“I want to assure the nation that we are going to play our final group game on Sunday and are looking forward to a positive result. These boys are aware of the impact that qualification will have on their footballing careers but we are also cognisant that we don’t have to turn a blind eye to their concerns, the association will always have an ear on issues to do with the welfare of the team, we are a listening association,” said Jere.
Zimbabwe held their first training session at the El sekka-el hadid SC last night after being given a day off on Thursday. There was some enthusiasm from the coaches as Mushekwi also trained with the squad while midfield rock Marvelous Nakamba and left back Devine Lunga sat it out due to injury.
“Lunga has just had a scan and he is definitely out of the Sunday game,” said Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare.
Zimbabwe need an outright win over DRC tomorrow to stand a chance of making it for the first time into the knockout stages of Afcon. They can still finish as runners up in the event that The Pharaohs beat the Ugandan Cranes while a win for Uganda and Zimbabwe will leave the latter’s qualification to be decided by other groups’ final standings as they can still qualify as one of the four third placed teams.