BY HENRY MHARA
Players were each offered $5 for those based in Harare, and $20 for those from outside the capital for transport back to their respective homes following their aggregate victory over Namibia at the weekend, with a promise to have their allowances deposited into their bank accounts later.
But the team, which has previously been on the receiving end of Zifa’s deceit, turned down the “inhuman” offer.
They opted to stage a sit-in at their camping venue, until they receive their dues.
The players are each owed $800 in winning bonuses, appearance fees and camping allowances for the two Africa Cup of Nations matches they played against Namibia home and away.
“This is not the first time that we have been given such a raw deal by Zifa. We have been in this situation before where they promise to give us our monies later, but we always end up not getting it. Zifa owes us a lot of money from our previous involvement in the national duty. It’s so bad that most of not all the players have forgotten the actual amount of money that we are owed from the previous assignments,” a senior member of the squad said yesterday.
Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela and women football administrator Theresa Maguraushe addressed the players yesterday.
They told the striking players to return to their homes with a promise that the monies would be deposited into the players’ accounts before Monday, but they wouldn’t take the chance.
“They say once beaten, twice shy. We know who we are dealing with. They said we will get the money by Monday latest. So we told them that we will only leave when we receive the money. Even if it means starving to death here, we are prepared,” said another player.
“What is more worrying for us is that we (Mighty Warriors) are the only ones given such an inhuman treatment. Our fellow men’s team are treated differently by Zifa. They don’t even stay here at the Zifa Village when they are in camp. They are booked in nice hotels. We have accepted that, because that’s the reality, but they should give us our money. That is the least that they can do for us. Most of us here are breadwinners and our families expect us to bring something when we come back home from work. For them to give us $5 is grossly unfair.”
The Mighty Warriors beat Namibia 2-0 at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday to complete a 4-0 aggregate victory which saw them qualifying to the final round where they will meet old foes Zambia in June in a two-legged tie for a ticket to the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Ghana this November.