THE Warriors camp is providing riveting twists and turns it might as well be packaged into a television series.
Fissures have become apparent in a team that is expected to have bonded well just a week before they begin their Africa Cup of Nations campaign against Algeria in Franceville, Gabon.
A deal was ironed out early yesterday morning with Zifa agreeing to pay a $5 000 appearance fee for every group game and pegging the winning bonus at $6 000. The players also demanded daily allowances of $400 while outside the country. The agreement was arrived at after an embarrassing incident which saw the team boycotting a send off reception organised for them by the Ministry of Sport and Recreation on Friday night.
But no sooner had the ink dried on the agreement did reports emerge that coach Kallisto Pasuwa, skipper Willard Katsande and his deputy Cuthbert Malajila — who signed on behalf of the Warriors — were being accused of selling out.
Apart from the appearance fees as well as winning bonuses Zifa and the Warriors representatives also agreed on how they will share the $475 000 qualification bonus that the Confederation of African Football doles out to the 16 finalists.
“Qualification bonus 60 percent Zifa and 40 percent team. Appearance and winning bonuses will be escalated at $2 000 per game. Appearance fees (for) group stage to the players’ accounts/technical accounts on or before the 12th of January 2017,” reads part of the agreement.
The agreement, a product of an early morning Indaba convened at Chiyangwa’s offices along Enterprise Road in Harare, apparently found little takers among the bulk of the Warriors. Most of the players insist that they will only leave for Gabon once they have received some cash to leave with their families.
“What we want is money and not promises. This funny agreement which says money will be transferred into our accounts is a joke, these guys are not good at keeping promises,” said a senior player while opening the lid on the goings on in camp.
“What has happened between yesterday (Friday) and today (Saturday) makes some of us lose trust in the people who represent us. We will only leave when we get some money first. If that doesn’t happen we will strike again.”
Initially the team was expected to depart early yesterday morning for Cameroon where they are scheduled to play the Indomitable Lions in an international friendly on Tuesday before making the trip to Gabon.
However, that journey was put on ice after the embarrassing standoff over allowances. After the evening made in hell, which also saw the players accusing the Zifa board of being thieves and the members of the soccer governing body’s board slapping the mercenaries tag on the team, the two parties appeared to have kissed and made up.
It emerged that the Sports and Recreation Commission came down hard on Chiyangwa after Friday’s debacle, forcing the Zifa president to convene an early morning Indaba which produced the contentious agreement.
After seemingly agreeing on the way forward with the Warriors a miffed Chiyangwa headed to Ministry of Sport and Recreation’s office where sources said he was grilled by the SRC board.
“What happened on Friday night was inexcusable, how can soccer players snub the Acting President? Chiyangwa was told as such during that meeting with the new SRC board. He was also warned that the days of behaving like a law unto himself are over,” said a member of the SRC on condition of anonymity.
After receiving the hairdryer treatment Chiyangwa oversaw the drafting a statement which saw Zifa apologising to Acting President Mnangagwa and the nation.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association apologises to all football stakeholders in Zimbabwe and particularly to the Acting President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Minister of Sport and Recreation, Honourable. Makhosini Hlongwane, the Sports and Recreation Commission and our valued sponsors for the failure by the Zimbabwe senior men’s team to attend the scheduled send-off ceremony at Rainbow Towers hotel in Harare and the team’s consequent failure to travel to Cameroon for an international friendly match,” reads part of the statement.
In the announcement Zifa also dropped some subtle threats to the Warriors.
“A full investigation is underway, and should any element of sabotage be detected, action will be taken to ensure that those involved will face the full wrath of the association. Zifa will further take action to ensure that Zimbabwe is indeed represented at the Afcon finals,” said the association.