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Chiyangwa begs Govt

HARARE-ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa has implored government to help with financial support as he claimed yesterday that he has had to use personal funds to finance national team travels.

The Warriors are expected to leave for Liberia today for their Group G Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against the hosts on Sunday, and Zifa have been busy in the past few days trying to secure the funds required.

Foreign-based players will travel to Monrovia from their bases today, where they will all be expected to have gathered by tomorrow for training to commence.

Chiyangwa addressed a Press conference on Tuesday and said it was time government started helping with the funding of national teams, like what happens in other African countries.

“Right now, myself and my vice-president (Omega Sibanda), we are Members of Parliament. We want to use this opportunity to lobby the government to start funding the national teams,” he said.

“Right now, the team is going to Liberia and we have been running around with Philemon Machana (Zifa board member in charge of finance) to get the money for the tickets and allowances.

“Often, I have had to use my own money and sometimes borrowing from friends to try and finance the national teams. In other countries, national teams are the responsibility of the government, and that’s what should also be happening here.”

Chiyangwa said he did not come into football administration to make money, adding that he was not benefiting financially from his position as Zifa president.

“When we came in, there was nothing at Zifa. We have sorted things out, but there is still no money. Now, we want our football to be stronger because we are playing at the highest level,” he said.

The use of personal funds was also prevalent during Cuthbert Dube’s tenure as Zifa president, and he is still owed money by the mother body.

Zifa initially played around with the idea of a chartered flight for the team and supporters, but the idea was abandoned due to the prohibitive costs involved.

The Zimbabwe senior men’s football team almost failed to fulfil its Afcon qualifier against Guinea in 2016 due to lack of funds, only to be bailed out by the government which chartered a plane at the last minute. NEWSDAY

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