HomeSportGabon courts Warriors friendlies

Gabon courts Warriors friendlies

ZIMBABWEAN soccer could benefit from international friendlies for the Warriors ahead of January’s African Nations Championships (Chan) but lack of funds could hinder the national team’s preparedness.

Kevin Mapasure

Cash-strapped Zifa is hoping to rope in government in their bid to conduct a rerun of the fundraising drive from the fans.

The “Dollar for Football” campaign was launched in May this year but made a false start with just US$200 collected from the National Sports Stadium when the Warriors played Egypt in a Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifier.

Egypt has expressed interest in an international friendly against the Warriors while Gabon has also proposed a match for early January. Zifa will need to source funds for the two matches.

Domestic football will be concluded by the end of next month and locally-based Warriors players will need to remain match fit for the Chan challenge.

Zifa CEO Jonathan Mashingaidze confirmed they were hoping to kickstart the “Dollar for Football” project.

“We are looking to re-launch the project so that we can raise funds for the Chan preparations but we are also looking at other projects beyond that tournament,” said Mashingaidze. “We are looking at bringing in some senior people and hopefully this time it can be a success.

“We have had a proposal from Gabon for the two nations to play a friendly match early January. We will also pursue the Egypt request so we can prepare thoroughly for the Chan tournament. We also have other targets and expect to have more requests for friendlies ahead of the tournament.”

Like other sports associations, Zifa is placing hopes for financial recovery in the newly-established Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture.

Egypt had proposed to play the Warriors ahead of their Brazil 2014 first leg final qualifier against Ghana which was played on Wednesday, but the request came at too short a notice for the match to take place.

With the north Africans handed a 6-1 drubbing, they will be hoping to prepare better and the Warriors could benefit since the Pharaohs proposed to pay for the trip.

Gabon, who have also qualified for Chan and are placed in Group D together with the DRC, Burundi and Mauritania, are hoping to pass through Harare on their way to South Africa for a warm up match ahead of the tournament.

The Warriors suffered a blow this week when key player Devon Chafa was given a six-month ban by Fifa for substance abuse.

He will only be available on March 1 next year.

Warriors coach Ian Gorowa is desperate for an impressive performance at Chan which would lay the foundation for the Warriors’ Afcon 2015 qualifiers which also start next year.

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