The Sunday Mail
The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) have paid glowing tribute to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Warriors fund-raising committee for uniting the nation in rallying behind the senior team ahead of their 2019 African Cup of Nations campaign in Egypt on Friday.
Sunday Chidzambwa’s men will get a chance to make history at the tournament with a clash against the hosts at the Cairo National Stadium.
Warriors’ star player forward Khama Billiat had an injury scare during training on Friday night.
They will also face Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo in their other group games with a top two finish in Group A securing them a ticket into the knock-out stages.
The Warriors could also advance beyond the group stages should they be among the four best third-place finishers.
But as they polish up their act with a friendly international against Tanzania in Egypt tonight, efforts to secure material, financial and morale support for the Warriors back home have gathered momentum.
One of the major highlights was the highly successful dinner organised by the Warriors fund-raising committee at Cresta Lodge on Wednesday night.
Yesterday, the acting Zifa vice-president Philemon Machana paid tribute to President Mnangagwa for leading from the front in the resource mobilisation efforts.
Machana, who is also a member of the fund-raising committee, said Zifa would remain highly indebted to Government, the corporate sector and individuals who have joined hands to ease the burden of catering for the Warriors.
“We are very grateful to His Excellency President Mnangagwa for leading from the front. Through our regulatory body the Sport and Recreation Commission and our parent Ministry, we have written our letter of appreciation to him.
“He also personally donated to the team and set the tone for the nation to follow suit,’’ Machana said.
Machana also saluted the fund-raising committee, which is chaired by Youths, Sports, Arts and Recreation acting Minister Kazembe Kazembe.
“These talented men and women have moved mountains in a very short space of time in order to mobilise resources for the team. That will make their mission in Egypt surmountable.
“Sugar Chagonda and myself are the Zifa board members who sit on the committee and we are really indebted to the committee members who have taken time off their demanding schedules to work round the clock on this. They have also rallied their individual corporate organisations and friends to chip in.
“Corporate leaders and cabinet ministers came together at short notice. Our work as Zifa was cut out once this splendid team came together,’’ Machana said.
The Zifa finance guru also revealed that they had received a reprieve on Friday when the High Court in Harare allowed them to access some of their bank accounts, which had been garnished by one of the Association’s creditors – Daisy Lodge.
“All accounts have now been unfrozen pending the finalisation of the matter in the court on June 27 and this has enabled us to access some of the funds from CAF. They were meant for the team’s preparations. Now that the money has been released, we expect to pay the players their outstanding daily allowances and appearance fees.
He expressed displeasure at the account freezes.
“We don’t know why some people have been advocating for the freezing of our accounts. That’s sabotage. The sad part is that some of them are convicted match fixers. Their day at Fifa is coming,’’ Machana said.
“However, we cannot comment much on the Daisy Lodge since it is still before the courts. She wants our Nostro accounts garnished and argues that she doesn’t want to be paid in the RTGS$, which was pegged at 1:1 with the US$. The courts must now decide on that.