THE national men’s amputee football team has been presented with a big opportunity to gauge their strength before embarking on the continental journey following their invitation to play Senegal in a friendly match in Dakar next month.
The Paul Madziwa team is scheduled to play in their debut Confederation of African Amputee Football (CANAF) Games which are slated for Cairo, Egypt, in April next year.
But they have never played any international tie in their short history and they will be hoping to use the friendly against Senegal to prepare for the 2024 championships.
Amputee Football Senegal have since written to the Zimbabwe Amputee Football Federation inviting them for a sparring game on December 9 and 10.
“Amputee Football Senegal would like to warmly invite you to play friendly games between the teams of AMP Football Zimbabwe and AMP Football Senegal,” read the letter from Amputee Football Senegal president Peter Kaluba.
“It will be an historical game as this is going to be the very first international match for team AMP Football Zimbabwe ever.
“We would like to organise the friendly games with your fantastic team in Dakar, Senegal. We will secure the synthetic grass football pitch in the Dieuppel Derkle district in Dakar”.
Zimbabwe Amputee Football Federation president Robson Musarafu confirmed that Zimbabwe is willing to play the international friendly.
“We are glad to announce that we have been invited to play international friendly matches against Senegal next month,” said Musarafu.
“We are willing to participate as this will give us a measure of where we stand before we go to the CONAF Games next year.”
The Zimbabwe national amputee team was supposed to take part in the African Para Games staged in Accra, Ghana in September, but failed to secure funding.
And they will be hoping for better fortunes in their future assignments, including the friendly match against Senegal and the CONAF.
The latter competition which has been put together by the Confederation of African Amputee Football (CAAF) and the World Amputee Football Federation (WAFF) is particularly critical as it will also be a qualifier for the 2026 World Cup.
Zimbabwe became a full member of CAAF and WAFF at the WAFF Congress held in April.
Amputee football is generally a new phenomenon in the country, but it is gaining traction thanks to Ruwa George Al-Quds Amputee FC which became the first amputee team in this country.
To date, over 220 amputee players play for clubs such as Ladyland Amputee FC in Masvingo, Hebrews Amputee FC, Eagles Amputee FC in Bulawayo, Hwange Amputee FC in Hwange and Smart Skills Sports Club in Victoria Falls.
“Our main problem now is getting the isolated players together into teams and clubs for training.
“We need resources to incentivise player movements and relocations,” said Musarafu.