ZIMBABWE Football Association (ZIFA) says national teams will continue to travel by road “when and where the trip does not affect team performance” as part of austerity measures being implemented by the troubled association.
This comes after the association handed the Mighty Warriors $15 bus fare allowance upon the team’s return from the COSAFA Women’s Championships which led to an outcry from a cross section of football stakeholders.
“The $15 transport reimbursements were given to players and officials based in Harare only and all other members of the COSAFA Women’s Championship delegation were given amounts commensurate with fares to their destinations based on guidelines of the ZIFA Finance policy,” ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said.
Players and officials resident outside Harare were accommodated overnight at the ZIFA Village and they dispersed in the morning on 14 August, Gwesela continued.
The senior women’s side had endured a road trip from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg before catching a connecting flight to Harare.
The Felton Kamambo-led association insisted it is a standard practice in COSAFA tournaments to use road transport to and from the tournament.
“The road trip from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg was the best solution to the need at the time and the association will continue to seek cost effective alternatives where and when possible in order to ensure that all financial obligations are met without overspending on some,” Gwesela said.
“The association is currently implementing austerity measures and national teams will travel by road when and where the trip doesn’t affect team performance,” he continued.
The crisis-ridden governing body pleaded for calm and patience saying the sport was experiencing tremendous growth in areas like referees’ development, grassroots football, football medicine and youth development.
“We have observed a number of negative stories and we plead with the media to follow the flag and support the national cause. We are open to criticism and we are free to respond to media enquiries because we believe the media are an integral stakeholder in the national project of football development,” Gwesela said.