Botswana is taking the friendly match seriously as it would be their last preparatory game before leaving for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
Zifa’s blundering in terms of getting the foreign legion for the tie coupled with poor travelling arrangements saw the only few foreign-based players withdrawing from camp at the last minute and this could be the Warriors’ recipe for disaster.
The Moroka Swallows duo of Gilbert Mapemba and Oscar Machapa, Lincoln Zvasiya of Kaizer Chiefs and Sundowns’ Simba Sithole reportedly pulled out as they could not endure the 1 200km journey to Gaborone squashed in a commuter omnibus.
Zifa owes the nation explanations in terms of what the arrangements were for the Warriors as the fixture was public knowledge two months ago.
This publication last year established that on average countries pay for international friendlies up to $20 000 and this money helps in travel expenses and allowances.
Zifa should have hired a bigger bus to ferry the team to and from Botswana to give the country a bit of dignity.
The Warriors were at the Plumtree Border Post at 6pm and their projected time of arrival in Gaborone was in the early hours of today for tomorrow’s clash.
This means that the team will only train once, which could likely be a blow to coach Norman Mapeza especially seeing that most players have been inactive since November.
It does not augur well for the country’s preparations for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Speaking at a city restaurant where the team had a stopover for a late lunch, Mapeza wore a brave face and was hopeful that his charges would stand their own against Botswana.
“We just have to do with the guys that were available at the last minute and had we trained from Tuesday, we would be singing a different tune.
“Most of these players last kicked the ball during the Mbada Cup final, others in November and their fitness levels are questionable.
“Unlike Botswana who were in camp for over a month, I think the best thing will be for our guys to try and avoid running with the ball as they lack game time and that strength to persevere.
“I spoke to the boys and I am happy that they want to grab this chance to show that they want to play for the country. I believe they know that it is an honour to play for the country and they are going to do so to the best of their abilities,” Mapeza said.
Conrad Whitby of Caps United, Pardon Chinungwa, who was one of Masvingo United’s most outstanding players last season, and Cliff Sekete, are the players that were called up as last minute replacements.
Sekete was the third player from last year’s Castle Lager Soccer Star of the Year finalists who made it into the travelling Warriors team.
The other two are Washington Arubi and Tapiwa Khumbuyani.
The other finalists who were overlooked include Allan Gahadzikwa, Hwange’s Nkosana Siwela and Donald Ngoma.
Washington Arubi, George Chigova, Guthrie Zhokinyu, Denver Mukamba, Milton Makopa, Cuthbert Malajila, Rodrick Mutuma, Charles Sibanda, Joel Ngodzo, Daniel Vheremu, Qadr Amini, Tendai Samanja, Pardon Chinungwa, Conrad Whitby, Masimba Mambara, Cliff Sekete, Tapiwa Khumbuyani.