Warriors to camp in Dubai

Zifa president Felton Kamambo (far right) visited derelict Sakubva stadium on Sunday in the company of (from left) Zifa Manicaland chairman Kuziwa Nyabeze, Manica Diamonds chairman Masimba Chihowa, PSL chairman Farai Jere and Zifa Eastern Region secretary Simba Wisdom. – Picture by Ray Bande

ZIMBABWE senior men’s football team will have a week-long camp in Dubai before they fly into Egypt for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals, Post Sport can exclusively reveal.

Zifa president Felton Kamambo told Post Sport in a wide ranging interview on the sidelines of a $37 000 Cyclone Idai relief donation handover in Mutare last Sunday that the Warriors’ camp in Dubai is already confirmed with one high profile friendly match set to be played there in the final stages of their preparations for the continental football showpiece.

“We are serious in our preparations for the Afcon tournament and we have quite a number of plans in place, some that I cannot talk about at the moment because of contractual agreements that first have to be met before going public.

“We are going to have a one week camp in Dubai before the team flies into Egypt for the Afcon finals and that is already confirmed. In Dubai, they will have one high profile friendly match. We will name the opponents after contractual agreements have been finalised,” he said.

Kamambo said the Warriors are set to leave for the Total 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in style as plans for a colourful joint sent off ceremony with South Africa’s Bafana Bafana scheduled for Harare on May 25 are at an advanced stage.

“We actually have one friendly match against South Africa that we hope will come to fruition because plans are at an advanced stage. This is part of a joint sent off ceremony that we hope to have together with the South Africa national team that is also going to Afcon.

“A friendly match between the two teams will be played on the 26th of May the next day after the send off ceremony slated for the 25th. We intend to have the friendly match here but it is yet to be finalized,” he said.

The Zifa president said there were also plans to have a friendly match in Nigeria

“We will also go to Nigeria where we intend to play a game in Nigeria but that is yet to be confirmed. We are still working on contractual agreements. In total, I think we will play three serious friendly matches that will afford the coaches a chance to fine tune their squad ahead of the tournament,” he said.

Kamambo maintained that he is confident the Umro kit deal will sail through as planned.

The Zifa president scoffed at rumours being peddled via social media that some members of his executive were angling to benefit from the Umbro kit deal through kickbacks.

“The Umbro kit deal is on and we are very confident that they Umbro) will provide the kit before the start of the Afcon tournament. They have the capacity to produce what we need in terms of the kits to be used at the tournament as well as replicas for our fans.

“It is unfortunate that some elements have already started alleging that some members within the Zifa executive want to benefit through kickbacks from the Umbro deal. That is false. In fact, it is a product of wishful thinking and malevolence.

“Surely how can Umbro doll out $100 000 in kickbacks as alleged when the total number of sales when the deal sails through might not exceed $50 000, for example,” said Kamambo.

As the finals of the 2019 Afcon loom large, Zimbabwe’s Warriors are beginning their preparations to get themselves as match-fit and sharp as possible.

The Warriors sealed their place in the final stages by defeating Congo-Brazzaville 2-0 in their last group match on the 24th of March.

Zimbabwe had the bragging rights after finishing top of their group, two-points clear of second-placed DR Congo. Having got to the final stages of the Africa Cup of Nations when it was last held in Gabon 2017, the Warriors’ back to back qualification confirms their credibility on the AFCON stage.

This year’s finals will be the 32nd time that the competition has been held since its inauguration in 1957 when just three teams competed. They were Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan.

South Africa were due to have made it four nations in total, but they were ruled out because of apartheid which was in force at the time.

The 2019 AFCON finals will take place in Egypt and are due to kick-off on the 21st of June.


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Publish date : 2019-04-26 17:06:07

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