Zimbabwe national football fans have been robbed of an all-expenses paid trip to the deserts of Egypt to provide desperately needed support for the national football team in their quest to rise above the odds and stun the African continent.
This comes after Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) selfishly diverted funds meant for a group of 40 fans to their own personal use, Zim Morning Post can reveal.
In a sad indictment of how corruption is at the core of the local game, Zim Morning Post learnt this morning how the country’s governing body had received funds for at least 40 fans from fuel tycoon Kuda Tagwireyi but the association cherry picked ZIFA Councillors, various journalists and lady friends to make the trip to Egypt.
The traveling contingent of ZIFA councillors and hand picked “supporters” who were scheduled to fly out of Harare Tuesday afternoon after checking in were told that there had been a slight change on the itinerary amid a last minute dash to travel to Egypt.
The group is now set to travel tomorrow, impeccable insiders told Zim Morning Post.
“Kuda Tagwireyi bought 40 tickets for Warriors fans. He gave them to ZIFA for onward transmission to the relevant stakeholders or at least arrangements for the fas to be in Egypt before Friday. He also provided money for the fans accommodation and upkeep in Egypt which would ensure they did not miss any group matches,” added the insider who pleaded for anonymity fearing reprisal.
“But this is a sad day for football and most especially the Warriors who need every support they can get in Egypt.”
Zim Morning Post understands that prominent Warriors supporter Chris “Romario” Musekiwa was instructed by ZIFA to find three supporters to complete the delegation which had already been staffed by hangers ons and cherry picked football administrators.
The act of kindness by Tagwirei comes days after he parted with RTGS$ 250 000 towards the Warriors upkeep in his desire to see the Sunday Chidzambga coached side overcome odds in the ultimate football showcase on the continent.
This was after President Emmerson Mnangagwa provided a hefty US$200 000 and a further RTGS$300 000 as stakeholders put hands on deck to give the Warriors the best financial back up possible.
Reached for comment Friends of Warriors chairman Eddie Chimedza expressed shock over the said funds adding the biggest Warriors fan base had resolved to watch their beloved Warriors from the environs of local pubs.
“Its news to us,” Chimedza told Zim Morning Post.
“We know nothing about it save for the little information we are seeing through messages and the like pointing to the fact that there are are group of supposed Warriors fans who failed to travel this afternoon. We will continue with our plans to congregant at East Point in Harare.”
Chimedza’s sentiments were echoed by Warriors supporter Zivanai Muwashu.
“The issue is that as supporters we are the owners of the game. Throughout the campaign period we were rallying supporters using our money but what is happening now is an issue of someone going to hunt and then someone wants to eat,” Muwashu said.
“We are expecting a rapturous crowd on Friday night and we don’t know of many football loving Zimbabwean residents in Egypt. Unfortunately we hear there were only three supporters on the ZIFA list.”
Efforts to get a comment from ZIFA president Felton Kamambo were fruitless. ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela attempted to water down the allegations calling them baseless allegations.
“Those are baseless allegations and a concoction of falsehoods. ZIFA is a accountable organisation and we are fully aware of our responsibilities. We will never abuse any funds. Your so called “good authority sources” have misled you. We dismiss these falsehoods with the contempt they deserve. Meanwhile , we remain focused as we prepare for our AFCON group A encounter against the Pharaohs on Friday,” said Gwesela.
He spoke as ZIFA councillors and supposed supporters were waiting at a local hotel for instructions from the association.
Zimbabwe open the 2019 Nations Cup finals with a tough assignment against hosts, and favourites, Egypt on Friday at the Cairo International Stadium on Friday night where some 80 000, predominantly Pharaohs fans are expected to give the Warriors a hostile reception.
Affectionately referred to as the owners of the game, the passion of football supporters is being exemplified by one Alvin “Aluvha” Zhakata who is making a road trip from Cape Town to Cairo to watch the 2019 AFCON finals.