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Boycott scare ahead of Swazi trip

By Collen Tafireyi

THE Zimbabwe national soccer team briefly boycotted training midweek over delayed payments amid fears poor preparations could militate against the defending champions’ hopes of a Cosafa Ca

stle Cup quarter-final win away to Swaziland on Sunday.

A stand-off had emerged between the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) and the national team over the association’s delay in settling overdue allowances and bonuses accrued when the Warriors played Gabon three weeks ago and Algeria last week in World Cup qualifiers.

Zimbabwe leave for Mbabane today after training as a full unit only twice this week.

The Warriors sat out the better part of Wednesday following the pay delay, before Zifa finally settled the bonuses and allowances later on the same day.

Sources in the national team set-up said morale had reached the lowest ebb.

Interim coach Rahman Gumbo confirmed there had been administrative problems that affected the team’s preparations.

“We didn’t train on Wednesday morning but later played a friendly match against Motor Action and the guys looked sharp in that game,” said Gumbo. “The money finally came and everyone is happy.”

Warriors manager Rafiq Adam yesterday also confirmed Zifa had on Wednesday settled all its arrears with the players.

Gumbo dispelled fears that the team’s performance in Swaziland would be affected. “I was impressed by new boy Edzai Kasinauyo,” he said.

Kasinauyo, a speedy midfielder at crack South African side Moroka Swallows, is making a return to the fold after a three-year absence. The other recalled player, Edelbert Dinha, has been dropped after failing to turn up or communicate with the coaches.

Gumbo said he would use his favoured 4-4-2 formation for Sundays ‘s match.

National team doctor Nick Munyonga also added that the squad, made up of mainly foreign-based professionals, had no injury worries.

Zimbabwe seek to defend the regional Cosafa title with a squad dominated by foreign-based players. Tapuwa Kapini, Bekithemba Ndlovu, Ephraim Mazarura and Zvenyika Makonese are the only locally based players travelling with the squad.

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