BY HENRY MHARA
WARRIORS technical team has accused their hosts Ghana of employing dirty tricks to frustrate them ahead of the two teams’ World Cup qualifying Group G clash in Cape Coast tomorrow.
The match, which kicks off at 6pm Zimbabwean time will be played at the Cape Coast Stadium, some 200km out of capital Accra.
Both teams are desperate to recover from their losses in their last qualifiers and the visiting team says their hosts are trying to use unorthodox means to frustrate their guests.
Team manager Wellington Mpandare yesterday claimed that they were given a substandard training facility which he said was “unsuitable for use by professional footballers.”
Zimbabwe arrived at their base in Cape Coast around midday on Wednesday and had a loosening session at around 4pm.
However, the visitors were not amused by the standard of the training facility offered to them.
Coach Norman Mapeza, who had all but two players available, had hoped to conduct his first full training session in the morning yesterday. But his plans were frustrated after the hosts could not provide a suitable facility for the team to train on.
“It’s so sad that we still have such things happening in our football,” Mpandare complained.
“The team has lost quite a lot in terms of preparation time because we could not train this morning as we had planned because the pitch we got was very bad. It was uneven and very hard so we couldn’t risk the players getting injuries. It was unsuitable for use by professional footballers.”
“We asked for another facility but we got something almost the same. The grass on the pitch was at knee level. They promised to trim the grass but we doubt they will do that so we are already looking for an alternative venue.”
It was not clear last night if the team had managed to hold their training session in the afternoon yesterday.
Zimbabwe will have access to the match venue today where they will train for an hour.
The match will be attended by 4 000 spectators.
The good news in the Warriors camp was the arrival of two stars Teenage Hadebe and his defensive partner Brendon Galloway who joined up with the rest of the squad yesterday.
Hadebe who is based in the US and Galloway who plays for Plymouth Argyle in England missed their flights on Tuesday after they were barred from boarding because of problems with their traveling documents.
Zimbabwe currently anchor Group G with one point from their opening two matches of the qualifiers following their goalless home draw against South Africa and a 1-0 defeat away to Ethiopia.
After the Saturday clash, Zimbabwe and Ghana will collide again in the reverse fixture on Tuesday at the National Sports Stadium.
South Africa lead the group with four points while Ghana and Ethiopia are tied on three. The top team from the group go through to the final qualifying round for next year’s World Cup finals to be staged in Qatar
Goalkeepers: Martin Mapisa (Zamora CF), Talbert Shumba (Free State Stars), Washington Arubi (Marumo Gallants)
Defenders: Alec Mudimu (Torpedo Kutaisi), Brendan Galloway (Plymouth Argyle), Bruce Kangwa (Azam), Jordan Zemura (AFC Bournemouth), Onismor Bhasera (SuperSport United), Rahman Kutsanzira (FC Platinum), Teenage Hadebe (Houston Dynamo), Tendayi Darikwa (Wigan Athletic)
Midfielders: Blessing Sarupinda (Sekhukhune United), Farai Madhanaga (Marumo Gallants), Kelvin Madzongwe (FC Platinum), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United), Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims), Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa), Never Tigere (Azam), Perfect Chikwende (Simba SC), Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United)
Strikers: Knowledge Musona (Al-Tai), Knox Mutizwa (Lamontville Golden Arrows), Terrence Dzvukamanja (Orlando Pirates)