THE Zimbabwe senior football team has been handed an opportunity to fine-tune their preparations for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in the event they qualify for the continent’s premier football tournament after Ghana requested an international friendly match.
BY HENRY MHARA
United Kingdom-based Ghanaian football agent Justin Addo is organising the match pencilled for May next year, a month before the Afcon finals.
Addo, a Fifa and Uefa-accredited match agent, has already written to Zifa through the association’s UK representative Marshall Gore to request for a one-week training camp in London, which would culminate in the clash against the Black Stars in the British capital.
The letter, seen by NewsDay Sport, shows that Addo’s company, Proball International, will foot the bills for the two teams, including allowances.
“Further to our discussions, I would like to confirm that we would like to invite the Zimbabwe national team to a pre-Afcon training camp here in the UK at the end of May. The duration will be for seven days and will include one international friendly match against Ghana,” the letter read.
“We will bear the cost of air tickets and hotel accommodation (full board), as well as ground transport and training facilities for a delegation of 25 people. If Zimbabwe does not qualify for Afcon, then we will invite them for a friendly match, same delegation number for two nights plus air tickets as well as a fee of $50 000.
“Obviously, if both Ghana and Zimbabwe are drawn in the same, then these plans cannot go ahead. I will be grateful if you could confirm with Zifa and respond on headed paper whether they would like to take up these two options.”
The letter was written on November 27, and Zifa had been given until December 4 to respond.
They are yet to, although Chidzambga and his technical team have already given the match a thumbs up.
“That matter will be dealt with by the new executive committee,” Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela said yesterday.
Zifa is under new leadership after Felton Kamambo beat Philip Chiyangwa for the association’s presidency at the weekend.
If the friendly match materialises, as expected, it would be good news for the Warriors, who have in recent times struggled to have friendly matches to prepare for competitive matches.
The team did not play any preparatory matches for the current Afcon qualifying campaign, where they are on the brink of qualification.
The Warriors need at least a point in their last Group G encounter against Congo Brazzaville in Harare in March next year to qualify for the 2019 finals.
The Afcon finals will be staged in either South Africa or Egypt in June after Cameroon was stripped of the rights to host the 24-team tournament after it emerged that their infrastructure would not be ready by June next year.
A new host will be confirmed at a Caf extraordinary executive committee meeting set to take place in Dakar, Senegal, on January 9 next year.