WARRIORS are not affected by the country’s decision to turn down a chance to host the 2019 Cosafa tournament which was scheduled for May.
Sports Minister Kirsty Coventry yesterday announced Zimbabwe will not be hosting the regional tournament after being given the nod by the Cosafa executive last month.
Coventry pointed out that after some deliberations is Harare yesterday, the deal was not good for the country or the Zimbabwe Football Association.
“We’ve had some deliberations this morning and we needed to come to the media and the county and let you know the outcome on the hosting of COSAFA.
“And it’s been agreed that at this time, the deal was not very good for the country or for ZIFA. So we will not be hosting the Cosafa games this year.
“But we look forward to having adequate time to be able to host the event in the near future.
“We want to make sure that when we do host an event of this magnitude, that we are fully prepared, we have good timing and we just don’t feel that was really given to us this time around.
“So moving forward we will continue to work closely with ZIFA in terms of what the next steps are and what the future holds in terms of hosting the event,” said Minister Coventry.
Warriors manager Wellington Mpandare had indicated hosting Cosafa as an advantage as they would use the home advantage to prepare for Afcon finals should they qualify.
Mpandare yesterday said they are ready to participate anywhere saying their focus at the moment is on the Congo-Brazzaville match.
“The focus is on our match against Congo Brazzaville on March 24, the Afcon qualifier.
“Of course there was going to be some advantage for us on Cosafa but we are ready to play it anywhere,” said Mpandare.
Zifa president Felton Kamambo said Zimbabwe, who are the defending champions, will participate wherever the tournament is moved.
“As ZIFA our team will participate in COSAFA wherever the event will be held,” he said.
Kamambo, however, made it clear that the country will not be ready until 2021.
“We will try and bid for future hosting of COSAFA but as from maybe 2021 upwards.
“So that we have enough time like the minister (Coventry) has said, to prepare to host this tournament,” said Kamambo.
Minister Coventry also said they needed time to prepare on the tournament.
“I think it’s just time, being able to host a bigger event we want to make sure that it benefits ZIFA, it benefits Zimbabwe as a country and benefits our people.
“But as of right now, the documents we signed maybe in late January and as far as we are all concerned that’s just not enough time to host.
“The hosts for next year already know that they are to host and they have an entire year to plan and we feel that it is extremely important that we too as a country get that time to be able to plan and deliver an event that we would be proud of,” she said.