WARRIORS coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels has launched a scathing attack on Zifa for the shambolic preparations which led to the national soccer team’s failure to travel to Guinea yesterday for their 2014 World Cup qualifier against the hosts on Sunday.
REPORT BY WELLINGTON TONI/TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The Warriors were scheduled to depart yesterday at 1:30pm and fly via Johannesburg, arrive in Dakar, Senegal, at 7:30am and touch down in Conakry this morning.
However, it emerged at the last minute that Zifa had by yesterday in the afternoon not managed to raise funds for the team’s air tickets — forcing the football chiefs to reschedule the trip to today.
Pagels was already at the Harare International Airport when he received a call from team manager Shariff Mussa informing him the trip had been cancelled. Southern Eye Sport had also arrived at the airport when Pagels received the shocking news.
The German coach, however, took aim at Zifa for their lack of meticulous planning and organisation which resulted in the team’s failure to travel for the international assignment on time.
Pagels said as long as Zifa continue to fail to plan for such important assignments, there cannot be any changes to Zimbabwean football. He said the team could not be expected to deliver under these circumstances. “This kind of organisation is not for football,” Pagels said.
“As long as Zifa continue to plan like this, Zimbabwe football will never change.
“The players didn’t train today (yesterday). Now they will only arrive in Guinea on Saturday (tomorrow) in the morning. They will just loosen up for an hour at the match venue and play the match. The boys will be tired. Can you expect the team to win the match?” Pagels quipped.
The Warriors coach also said the team would also be confronted with climate challenges on arrival in Guinea.
He said the team needed time to adjust to the weather conditions in Conakry. He said he had found in his research that temperatures in Guinea were ranging between 30 and 35 degrees Celcius.
“Besides training time, the players will also have to adapt to the weather conditions. Temperatures are between 30 and 35 degrees Celcius and its raining,” Pagels added.
Before confirmation of the rescheduling of the trip, Tshinga Dube, the Zimbabwe Football Trust chairman, whose organisation has been tasked to raise money for the national association and the Warriors’ trips, had hoped the team would be able to travel today.
“We are working hard and we hope they will be able to travel tomorrow (today). If we don’t, we will be fined and banned from future competitions,” Dube had said.
Zifa communication and media manager Xolisani Gwesela confirmed the new travelling arrangements last night.
“There has been a slight change of programme in their travelling arrangements. They will now leave tomorrow (this morning) morning via Dakar,” he said.
Well, if Pagels thought he was the only one swimming in trouble, then he has probably not heard the story of reigning African champions Nigeria. After drawing 1-1 against Namibia on Wednesday in Windhoek, the Super Eagles failed to fly to South Africa yesterday due to a row over winning bonuses for a World Cup qualifier.
They were supposed to have boarded a South Africa Airways flight in the morning from Namibia to Johannesburg, but a correspondent of Nigeriainfo FM Lagos, Arafat Aliu, who was also on the same flight, indicated the team did not turn up.
“The team is not on board. All the seats in business class are empty,” Arafat said.
“Rather, other passengers on this flight have been asking me when the players will board.”
The Super Eagles were scheduled to have flown out of Windhoek to Johannesburg later yesterday afternoon on their way to Sao Paulo, Brazil, minutes before 6pm South African time. They would then have arrived in Sao Paulo by midnight and connect immediately to Belo Horizonte, venue of their opening match of the Fifa Confederations Cup against Tahiti on Monday.
The Eagles had insisted they be paid at least $5 000 for a 1-1 draw with hosts Namibia, but received a cut. They said they were not properly communicated with on this pay slash.