PREPARATIONS for Saturday’s African Nations Championships (Chan) preliminary round, second leg qualifier against the Comoros, went into overdrive yesterday both on and off the pitch as the Warriors started training while the government worked on getting a chartered flight for the senior national football team.
The Warriors won the first leg 2-0 at Rufaro Stadium in the capital two Sundays ago.
While the finer details of the travel itinerary are being worked out, it is expected that the flight will arrive in the Comoros early on Saturday morning and depart soon after the match.
In a statement yesterday, Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) director-general Charles Nhemachena said they were engaged in fundraising activities to ensure the Warriors fulfil the match.
“The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) in conjunction with the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture is engaged in fundraising efforts to facilitate the Warriors’ preparations for their Chan qualifiers match against the Comoros as well as their travel to that country. The match is scheduled for Saturday, 4th July 2015,” the SRC statement read.
“As part of these efforts, a charter is being organised to fly the team to the Comoros and back at an estimated cost of $83 000. The charter will obviate inconvenient travel arrangements which include approximately 12 hours to get to the Comoros and the possibility of the team travelling in batches and on different dates.
“The duration of the charter flight is about 3-4 hours. While the finer details of the travel itinerary are being worked out, the plan is for the team to arrive in the Comoros early on Saturday morning.
“We call upon our soccer-loving citizens and residents to support our resurgent Warriors by taking up 70 seats on the flight at a heavily subsidised cost of $450. An air ticket on the scheduled flight costs no less than $1 900! An additional $50 will be required to cover visa fees while accommodation and match entry fees are still to be confirmed.
“Members of the travelling party should ensure that they have valid yellow fever vaccination certificates.
“For companies and other corporate bodies, this is an opportunity to extend an invaluable hospitality facility to your partners as well as for rewarding and motivating your employees by sponsoring them to go and watch the Warriors do national duty.
“The SRC also invites potential sponsors to consider supporting the Warriors through the funding of camping expenses, performance incentives, daily allowances and airfares among other requirements. Donations in kind will also be appreciated. We avail ourselves to discuss the opportunities presented by this tour at the sponsors’ convenience.”
The SRC advised that payments/donations or sponsorships could be made through their CBZ Bank Sapphire House Account Number 02420577900042 or at their Finance Office, SRC Head Office, National Sports Stadium.
“All sponsorships and donations will be acknowledged and accounted for in a transparent manner,” the SRC said.
On the field of play, the Warriors received a timely boost with Buffaloes defender Liberty Chakoroma who had sneaked out for trials in South Africa joining the squad alongside Dynamos goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva.
Chakoroma had been left out of the initial squad named by coach Kalisto Pasuwa as he had gone for trials with South African Premiership side Free State Stars where he is understood to have made the grade with negotiations for a possible contract between the two clubs now underway.
Mukuruva, who had also been left out as his team had indicated they wanted to use him for the league match against Hwange on Sunday, also joined the afternoon training session at Rufaro yesterday.
While Dynamos are against the player going to the Comoros, Mukuruva insisted he wanted to play for the national team and joined the afternoon training session without permission from his club.
The Warriors gaffer said they would be cautious not to open gaps in the Comoros and called up Flame Lily left-back Farai Madanhaga as a replacement for injured Divine Lunga in one of the changes to the team that played in the first leg.
“We don’t want to open gaps, so we have called up Madhanaga as a replacement for Lunga. We want defenders and you know Pritchard Mpelele is not a defender,” Pasuwa said.
Mpelele sat out the afternoon training session as he was not feeling well.
The Warriors coach also raised concern over the fitness level of some of the players.
“We would have preferred to go with the same players who played in the first leg, but some of them have gone for trials and we face a challenge in that some of them are not playing regularly for their respective clubs and I am a bit worried by their fitness level.
“It’s one of the challenges we are facing, but we have to try and come back with a good result. We shouldn’t underestimate our opponents. They will be at home and they will be dangerous. We saw them when they came here. They are a good side.”
Source : NewsDay Zimbabwe