THE much-hyped European tour by the national Under-23 football team which was scheduled for this month could suffer a stillbirth after ZIFA yesterday professed ignorance over the arrangement.
The Young Warriors face South Africa in the final qualifying round for the Under-23 African Cup of Nations next month.
The Under-23 AFCON finals will be staged in Egypt later this year, with the three best teams to emerge from the fiesta booking their berths in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
And the tour of Germany by the Young Warriors was largely expected to help prepare them ahead of their crunch two-legged final qualifying round against South Africa’s Amaglug-glug.
But the trip, which was supposed to see the team play a series of sparring matches against some German teams from the lower leagues, is hanging in the balance after ZIFA said they haven’t yet received any communication from the organisers.
The Hamburg-based GeBe Sports and Education Foundation is understood to have written a letter addressed to the Young Warriors’ technical team on April 13 inviting the junior squad to take part in some friendly matches in Germany.
The reputed institution had pledged to host the Zimbabwean team.
In fact, Bernd Wulffen, the director and founder of GeBe Foundation, recently told The Herald that they would like to assist the Young Warriors in their preparations for the crunch tie against South Africa by hosting the team in Germany this month.
But as things stand, no such trip will take place as ZIFA are out of the picture on what is obtaining on the ground.
ZIFA communications officer Xolisani Gwesela yesterday said the local soccer motherbody had not received any invite to that effect.
“ZIFA knows nothing about the said tour of Germany. In as far as we are concerned, there is no any tour of Germany by the Young Warriors as noone has communicated with us,” he said.
Yet, a UK-based Zimbabwean Philip Zulu, who had initiated communication between ZIFA and the Germans, insists the ZIFA had received the invitation.
He said ZIFA president Felton Kamambo, chief executive Joseph Mamutse, board member Chamu Chiwanza as well as Gwesela himself had received some communication regarding the Young Warriors’ proposed tour of Germany.
Zulu, who is also one of the people instrumental in bringing some foreign-based Zimbabweans to play for the national teams, yesterday sounded resigned to pursue the tour and said he saw no point in pushing for something “which has long been politicised”.
“It’s a lie that Kamambo, Chiwanza and Mamutse didn’t receive the invitation letter from the GeBe Foundation… They all got the invitation.
“But I think someone linked to those board members (Kamambo, Mamutse and Chiwanza), through politics, has invaded this agenda,” Zulu told The Herald from his base in Leeds, England, yesterday.
“I might as well start working with different countries… I’m sick of it but soon I might have to focus on different nations and then peacefully retrieve myself from (dealing) with Zimbabweans.”
Had the tour been successful, Young Warriors coach Tonderayi Ndiraya stood to benefit from an attachment in Germany, according to Zulu.
The Young Warriors were supposed to face teams like HSV Hamburg, St Pauli Hamburg, VfB Lubeck, Holstein Kiel and Hansa Rostock.
VfB Lubeck is the home of two Zimbabwe national Under-23 players Seth Patrick and Shama Bako.
Zulu was instrumental in bringing Patrick and Bako to play for the Young Warriors this year.