HIGHLANDERS’ top marksman Prince Dube is set to take the overnight bus or alternatively travel in a supporter’s vehicle to Harare from Zvishavane racing to get back to Zimbabwe’s capital in time for Sunday’s flight to Zambia.
Check-in for the Warriors’ Sunday flight is pencilled for 12:40pm.
Dube embarked on the daring move to hitch-hike the 298-kilomtere journey hours after coming on late for the Warriors at the National Sports Stadium.
He struck one of Zimbabwe’s two only shots on target against Botswana.
Less than 24 hours later, he was at Mandava Stadium as Highlanders battled for maximum points against FC Platinum.
Dube played the entire 90 minutes as the two teams played out a goalless draw. If he is to play in Zambia, he would have played three high intense matches inside five days.
Highlanders’ coach Hendrik Pieter de Jongh declined to comment on Dube’s travel arrangements.
A club insider told Zim Morning Post “Highlanders has many supporters and he is likely to travel with one of them.”
Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) said Dube’s unothodox travel arrangements were outside their control.
“I understand that (his day off) is an agreement between the player and coaches,” Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela told Zim Morning Post.
“Coaches are the custodians of players when players are in camp. There was a request which came in from Highlanders and the coaches acceded to it. As Zifa we don’t interfere. What the player does (or how he travels) on his day off is outside the purview of the association,” Gwesela added.
It remains to be seen if the top marksman will be able to recuperate in time for Tuesday’s must-win match.
Zimbabwe needs to be at full strength against a Zambian side that is battered and bruised following their 5-0 humiliation at the hands of Algeria.
“This was a crucial day to review last night’s game and we have missed a great opportunity. Tomorrow the team leaves at 11,45am (airport check-in) and there’s no guarantee Antipas would have arrived from Bulawayo by then,” Herald sports editor Robson Sharuko wrote on twitter.
Warriors’ coach Joey Antipas has said in a “normal country” Premier League matches would have been suspended to allow the national team to observe camp.
Along with his assistants – Harare City’s Lloyd Chitembwe of, Dynamos’ Tonderayi Ndiraya – Antipas has been forced to adjust his Warriors’ training schedule in order to accommodate club assignments.
This comes amid failure by the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to honour the FIFA international break.
The camping commotion could potential destabilise the Warriors’ preparations for their African Cup of Nations qualifier against Zambia.
Earlier this week the Warriors coaches conducted a morning session on Wednesday before leaving for their club’s respective mid-week PSL fixtures.
The chaos comes as other countries have suspended their domestic leagues to accommodate the national team assignments.
Meanwhile, the Warriors’ technical team Saturday morning dropped Terrence Dzukamanja, Thabani Kamusoko and goalkeeper Talbert Shumba from the travelling squad.
18-man traveling squad: Elvis Chipezeze, Simbarashe Chinani, Ian Samuel Nekati, Cliff Moyo, Kelvin Njabulo Moyo, Teenage Lingani Hadebe, Partson Jaure, Alec Takunda Mudimu, Tapiwa Ronald Pfumbidzai, Marshall Nyasha Munetsi, Marvelous Nakamba, Butholezwe Mzomsuthu Ncube, Ovidy Obvious Karuru, Khama Billiat, Kudakwashe Mahachi, Knox Mutizwa, Knowledge Musona ©, Prince Mpumelelo Dube.