PLAYERS called up for national team duty have been discouraged from using private transport, a Zifa official said yesterday after Highlanders and Warriors midfielders Kuda Mahachi, Peter “Rio” Moyo and Milton Ncube were involved in an accident in Kadoma on Sunday.
The three players were on their way to Harare to join the national team scheduled to play Malawi tomorrow in an international friendly in Blantyre.
Ncube who was driving his Toyota Vitz lost control of the vehicle and veered off the road.
Mahachi sustained a cut on the head while Rio complained of neck pains.
They were treated at Kadoma Hospital after the mishap and proceeded to Harare where they were also treated at West End Clinic before joining the rest of the Warriors. They left for Malawi yesterday morning.
“Our position is very clear, players should use public transport especially luxury coaches when they are called for national duty. We discourage players from using their own vehicles,” Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela said.
He dismissed calls from concerned football fans and stakeholders that players should be sent air tickets when called for national duty.
“We have heard people say: Why don’t you send players air tickets? But our question is; how can you send a player from Chiredzi, Masvingo, Zvishavane or even Buffaloes in Mutare an air ticket? Such statements are unwarranted,” he said.
Zimbabwe has three major airports, Victoria Falls, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and Harare International.
Gwesela said players are refunded their transport fares by Zifa on arrival after they are called up for national duty.
“When players are called into camp they use their own money after which Zifa refunds then. They can use luxury coaches and we refund them,” he said.
Contrary to reports that Mahachi, Rio and Ncube had been dropped from the Warriors squad, Gwesela said the players were yesterday on their way to Malawi with the rest of the national team.
“They went to Malawi. The team is travelling by road. When they got to Harare last night (from Kadoma where the accident occurred) they were seen and treated by doctors at Zifa’s cost at West End Clinic and discharged. Their condition is not serious and they joined the rest of the team to Malawi. They are expected in Blantyre later today (yesterday),” Gwesela said.
The accident brings back memories of the horrific crash that claimed the lives of three Caps United players Blessing Makunike, Gary Mashoko and Shingirai Arlon in 2004 after a match in Bulawayo. They avoided using the team bus and decided to use private transport from a league match.
In 2009 former Caps United goalkeeper Energy Murambadoro was involved in an accident near Kadoma when he chose to travel with a friend instead of the rest of the team.