Zimbabwe’s national senior soccer squad, the Warriors, are in depths of despair as they prepare to face the Flames of Malawi.
The Warriors left for Malawi by road this morning after the Zimbabwe Association failed to secure enough seats for the players to travel by air via Johannesburg, South Africa, for their Group H African Cup of Nations qualifier at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre ton Saturday.
The journey will take the Warriors 12 hours and the team will only arrive for the match only 14 hours before they are scheduled to trot onto the pitch.
This is probably the worst treatment the Warriors have received in their 36 years of international football. They also go into the game having trained for only two days and coach, Kalisto Pasuwa, is not a happy man.
The Warriors had been scheduled to leave Thursday morning but this was not to be after they went on strike demanding to be paid $500 in advance as appearance fees.
Prophet Walter Magaya of the PHD Ministries had to come to the rescue of ZIFA after he chipped in with the required funds to allow the team to travel and fulfill the fixture.
Despite the shambolic preparations, there is mixed belief on what the Warriors will come out with.
Caps United supporter, Daniel Zambezi, says the game will be tough.
Zambezi says the Zimbabwe Football Association should put their house in order or ship out of office.
Pasuwa has called what is probably the best team available.
He has included Netherlands-based Marvelous Nakamba, Sweden-based Knowledge Musona as well as the South African trio of Khama Billiart, Willard Katsande, and Cuthbert Malajila.
Warriors Fan Club member, Fidelis Maocha, has so much belief in Pasuwa to the extent that he believes the Warriors will win and gives his prediction for the game.
The Warriors need a win against the Flames to enhance their chances of qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 11 years.
Zimbabwe regularly play Malawi in the Cosafa Senior Challenge in which the Warriors have always emerged victorious.
Although this is not the Cosafa but the Africa Cup of Nations, Harare City Football Club supporter, Tafara Mangezi, thinks the Warriors’ dominance will continue.
Mangezi has chosen to be patriotic and says forward with the Warriors.
The other teams in the group are Guinea and Swaziland.
Only one team from the group qualifies for the finals to be held in Gabon in January 2017.
Zimbabwe are desperate to qualify for the finals after missing out in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2015.
SABLES VS KENYA
Now to rugby: While the Warriors are away in Malawi, the Sables are at home to Kenya but at Prince Edward School not at their traditional venue of Harare Sports Club.
The Sables have always been dominant over the Kenyans and beat their East African opponents in a World Cup qualifier in Madagascar last year.
However, coach Cyprian Mandenge is not reading much into the past saying this is a new game with new challenges.
Mandenge has retained most of the starts that did duty for the country at the 2014 Africa Cup in Madagascar and the 2015 World Cup qualifiers.
These include the likes of Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Gardner Nechironga, Denford Mutamangira, Fortune Chipendo, Stephen Hunduza, Tangai Nemadire, and German-based Quincy Kamwindo.
The Sables surrendered their Africa Cup title to Namibia last year but the Zimbabweans are determined to reclaim their status as the second best rugby team in Africa after South Africa.
After Kenya, Zimbabwe will play Namibia and Tunisia in this round robin format competition.
JUNIOR GOLF SQUAD
In golf: A strong four-member Zimbabwe junior golf team has left for the junior World Cup, which starts in Japan.
The team of Justin Kersten, Kieren Vincent, Jack Allard, and David Amm is to compete against the best the world has to offer including teams from the USA, South Africa, Australia, the United Kingdom, and hosts Japan.
More than 20 teams are billed to take part in the competition.