Petros Kausiyo in Cairo, Egypt
THE Warriors got just the kind of tonic they needed to cheer their spirits when they received the first tranche of financial support that has been mobilised for them by the Warriors fund-raising committee.
Acting Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Kazembe Kazembe, who is also the fund-raising committee chairman, revealed that they transferred US$108 000 into the players’ accounts and their technical crew in line with the pledge he made to them before their match against Egypt.
The Warriors, though, have asked Zifa, to find an extra US$2 000 for each player in camp, to ensure that their US$5 000 appearance fee, as agreed in the contract they signed with the association, is secured before tomorrow’s match against the Cranes.
Yesterday, they got just the kind of boost they needed to remain focused on the tough job at hand when Kazembe addressed them at their team hotel and announced the disbursement of the tranche.
“I had told the players that I would return on Saturday, but I had other engagements and I am still glad that I have been able to come and address them and confirm to them that, as the fund-raising committee, we have now made our first payment to them,” Kazembe said.
“We have promised them more after their game against Uganda, which we believe they will do well to win. It must always be made clear that Zifa had their contract with the players, which is different, and which they are fulfilling and as a committee we have mobilised and we continue to mobilise more resources that are being channelled directly to the team.”
Yesterday’s developments also put paid to speculation, especially on social media circles, that the funds sourced by the committee had long been abused before reaching the Warriors camp.
Instead, it left skipper Knowledge Musona and his troops singing with joy and noting, through their manager Wellington Mpandare, that the onus is now on them to deliver when they face the Cranes.
“Obviously, it is very encouraging that the Minister can humble himself and come and address the players like he has been doing. We rarely see that and previously on such situations we would only see managers or association officials being tasked with that, but the Minister was here at the team hotel for the second time to meet with them and pledged to be back,” said Mpandare.
“The commitment that is coming from the fund-raising committee has been marvelous and I think with this kind of commitment even to the World Cup we can qualify. We have seen how similar gestures by governments in Congo Brazzaville, Liberia and DRC helped their national teams in the qualifiers and if it is done regularly for our Warriors there is nothing that can stop us from succeeding.
“Zifa, alone, could not manage because they also have creditors on their backs and I feel for them, but it must also be understood that players will always want their money.
“As long as the boys are focused and don’t have to miss training like what happened before the Egypt game they can beat any team and we really appreciate all that has been done for us,” he said.
Goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda and Nyasha Mushekwi have 50-50 chances to play against Uganda after being injured in the first match.