Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
CHAIRMAN of the Warriors Fundraising Committee for the AFCON 2019 tournament Kazembe Kazembe says his office has been inundated with calls from people who want the committee to fund them to Egypt to support the senior national football team.
The committee, which was set up by President Mnangagwa last month, was mandated to raise US$500 000 to assist the Warriors in their quest at this year’s tournament in Egypt.
Kazembe yesterday said his office has been besieged by people looking for funds to go to Egypt. However, the fundraising committee chairman said the Warriors and their technical team are the sole priority of their fundraising efforts.
The Warriors will kick off their AFCON campaign in the opening match against hosts Egypt tomorrow night.
“We were mandated by His Excellency to do this for the Warriors and for the nation.
“The funds we are going to raise will go strictly towards the welfare of the players and the technical team who are in Egypt.
‘They are the priority and that is the mandate we have. Of course, we know there are some supporters and officials out there who also want to travel to Egypt to give the Warriors their support; we appreciate that, but we are saying in everything that the committee does, it’s the team that comes first.
“So we cannot have people phoning asking for money raised for the Warriors to fund their trips to Egypt. It’s not our duty to do so. Ours is to mobilise resources and then make sure they reach the intended destination. Mind you, we have a big team to take care of,” said Kazembe.
The fundraising committee managed to pull together US$218 000 and $3,5m in local currency when they hosted a fundraising dinner last week.
The money, however, is still below the target.
“I would like to thank the people and organisations who have come on board for this noble cause. Our finance committee is still reconciling the figures, but so far what we have is still below the target, even if we are to convert what we got in the local RTGS into US dollar.
“So we are still appealing for more donations and we urge those who have made pledges to honour them.
“We know our first game is on Friday (tomorrow night), but it’s not the only match that the boys will play. So the fundraising is an ongoing process.
“We have to make sure that our team is well-covered financially because we are expecting them to progress beyond the group stage,” said Kazembe.
Kazembe, who is also the Acting Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, is today expected to travel to Egypt to boost the Warriors camp.
“The team has been in Egypt for over 10 days now and as you know, CAF only fund them the last five days before the start of the tournament. So it means the association had to take care of the extra days.
“Of course, ZIFA have received some money from CAF to kick-start the preparations, but we are told there is a deficit for the time they have been camped in Egypt, and it’s quite substantial. So there is still a lot of ground to cover in our fundraising campaign.
“I have to be in Egypt to get an appreciation of the situation on the ground and make sure that everything is smooth-sailing in the camp. We are confident if we reach the target we may be able to meet all the expenses.
“So the door is still open for more funds and the committee will be working 24/7, even in my absence, to raise more money,” said Kazembe.