Tadious Manyepo and Blessing Malinganidza in KIGALI, Rwanda
ZIFA bosses were last night trying to douse the flames in the Warriors camp ignited by the decision by the players to boycott training over unpaid bonuses, appearance fees and allowances.
The players want their daily allowances paid and are also demanding they get something from their draw against Rwanda.
The ZIFA Normalisation Committee are said to have promised the players US$2000 for a win but said nothing on drawn matches.
It didn’t rain here yesterday, contrary to some social media posts by some spin doctors, who were trying to suggest the rains led to the training session being called off.
The technical team, led by Baltemar Brito, went to the team bus, which was ready to take the team to the training ground.
But, after more than 45 minutes, the players were nowhere to be seen.
They remained in their rooms while members of the ZIFA normalisation committee, who came with a bloated delegation, were engaging in a marathon meeting downstairs of their Kigali hotel.
“This is not a strike,” said ZIFA boss Lincoln Mutasa.
“We had to wait for the Embassy to give us time to visit them. This is why, as the ZIFA NC, we are creating our own media within ZIFA.
“Why do you guys want to dwell so much on something that you see is negative?
“I thought we should be concentrating on giving these players space to shine.
“We should not look much into these negatives.
“There are some delays here and there but everything is under control.”
The players visited the Embassy late in the afternoon, after a 10-minute gym session, as part of their recovery since they had failed to do proper training.
Although Sunday’s match against Nigeria is in Butare, some 126km from the capital, the team had to shift base to Kigali due to lack of proper training facilities in Rwanda’s third biggest city.
One splayer, who chose not to be named, said:
“They (NC) tried to talk to us as they wanted us to be patient but previous experiences taught us otherwise,” he said.
“We need them to deliver on their promises.
“We are not betraying the nation and that is never our intention.
“We love our country so much and will fight for the badge but, obviously, we need the NC to deliver what they would have promised”.
Zimbabwe play Nigeria at Huye Stadium on Sunday with coach Brito expected to make wholesale changes to the team that played against Rwanda on Wednesday.