Warriors get paid! Board member finance, Philemon Machana
Philimon Machana

Philemon Machana

Grace Chingoma, Harare Bureau
THE Warriors yesterday received a huge boost ahead of their first game against Algeria on Sunday when Zifa, as promised, released the first tranche of                   $550 000 to the players for their appearance fees for the three group stage matches.

As per their agreement with the players last weekend, the Association on Wednesday transferred the money into individual players’ bank accounts.

The confirmation of the payment was also sent to the team which arrived in Gabon yesterday from Cameroon, Yaounde.

The money, which was paid, is believed to have come from the government which came to the national team’s rescue with a package of close to $1 million.

Following last week’s turbulence which threatened to derail the country’s Africa Cup of Nations participation, Zifa finally struck an agreement with the team that each player will get $5 000 per game for making an appearance against Algeria, Senegal and Tunisia.

The technical team will also get an undisclosed amount of appearance fees.

And yesterday, Zifa executive member responsible for finance Philemon Machana said they have transferred $15 000 per player for all the 23 players that are at the Nations Cup.

The mother body also transferred the appearance fees for the nine members of the technical team.

“I can confirm that we wired that money to each player. And the total amount is $550 000. For appearing for the three matches it is $5 000 per game that was the agreement between Zifa and the players,” said Machana.

Before departure, the players also received their daily allowances for the days they were in camp.

The players were in camp for 10 days before they departed for West Africa and Machana said they paid  $1 500 to each player while those who reported for camp late got the money for the days they were also in camp at the rate of $150 per day.

The players have agreed to $400 per day for the days they will be out of the country until they return home.

“The agreement was silent on these daily allowances, when they would be paid. We are likely to pay after the tournament,” said Machana.

“I was not in the meeting when they signed the deal with Zifa and I will be informed by my superiors when this money will be paid.

“But we have cleared the daily allowances for the days they were in camp in the country. We paid those allowances for the ten days they were in camp and it was $150 per day per player.

“The technical team have different figures from the players but I am not at liberty to disclose them. But we have paid them as well.

“What it means is that 23 players and nine members of the technical team were paid.”

The Warriors will also get 40 percent of what Zifa will earn as prize money from the tournament.

A winning bonus of $6 000 has been pegged for victory in each of the group matches.

Should the Warriors progress to the next stages of the tournament, the appearance fee will keep increasing by a figure of $2 000.

The Zifa board member also explained what the players are owed but could not comment on when that debt would be settled.

“When we came into the office, they had travelled to Malawi by bus and they were promised $43 000. But it was part of this campaign so it was brought forward,” said Machana.

“The agreement signed last weekend is silent on the previous debts, so I am not saying it is not going to be paid or going to be paid.”

Yesterday, Machana said, contrary to the public opinion, Zifa never failed to pay the players their allowances but they were still at the negotiating phase.

“People were still negotiating, we never failed to pay any money. We were offering $50 per day then and we said should we agree on the figure then we will top up that figure.

“At one point they said they wanted to consult the rest of the players and everything was done in good faith,” he said.

Machana added they tried their best in the prevailing harsh economic conditions where they were sourcing money from companies which are also faced by challenges.

“We, as Zifa, we really support our national team.”

He paid tribute to companies such as NetOne who came on board and all the resources which were pooled together for the Warriors cause.

The Warriors could make more than $100 000 each should they shock the world and win the Nations Cup finals in Gabon.

Nick Said, one of the leading football writers on the continent who is based in Cape Town, South Africa, said the Warriors were in the Group of Death but they had an attack that could help their cause.

“The 2017 Nations Cup Group B has taken on the obligatory ‘Group of Death’ moniker for this tournament, with Algeria, Tunisia and Senegal all among the favourites for the title,” Said wrote this week.

“Zimbabwe are the fourth team in the pool, making a return to the continental showpiece for the first time since 2006.

“The Warriors have a forward line to match any side in the competition, but defensively will likely struggle against three very strong teams.

“No less than 11 of the 16 competing nations can have real hopes of claiming the trophy, but there is also the potential for a surprise victor to emerge, just as Zambia did in 2012 when they stunned Ivory Coast in the decider at the same Stade de l’Amitié in the Gabonese capital.

“Senegal have emerged as Africa’s leading nation going into the finals, but go into the tournament wary of many past failures where they have been heavily tipped to succeed, but fallen well short of their expected performance.

“It makes for a fascinating festival of football with evenly matched first-round groups that are difficult to predict, with only the top two sides advancing to the quarter-finals.”

Said has been writing about local and international football since 1999 for some of the world’s leading football publications.

He formerly headed the newsroom for the popular UK-based website Football365 and spent four years at Kick-Off.

Since going freelance in 2008 he has written for almost 60 local and international publications and has appeared on a number of TV and radio shows.

He is the Africa sports correspondent for Reuters, writer for Times Media Group, Kick-Off, SuperSport, All-Africa, Kwese Sports.

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