Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
HARARE City have raised eyebrows after it emerged the Sunshine Boys are sending a bloated delegation of 43 people to Madagascar for their CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round, second leg tie against AS Adema next week.
The delegation will cost the club about $54 000 in airfares alone.
The Sunshine Boys, who are playing continental football for the first time following their Chibuku Super Cup triumph last year, carry a slender 3-2 advantage from the first leg at Rufaro last Saturday.
It has emerged that the lure of the Indian Ocean island has seen just about everyone associated with the modest Premiership side jostling to be part of the delegation to Madagascar for the week-long tour of duty.
The recommended squad delegation by CAF standards is usually between 25 and 30 people.
Clubs, though, can decide to have bigger delegations depending on their financial muscle.
The Herald can reveal the delegation was actually whittled down from 56 after Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni, who is also the club’s patron, expressed reservations about the size of the travelling party given that the Premiership side is sponsored from public funds.
With a return ticket for one individual costing $1 250 Manyenyeni was not amused that a huge amount was being spent on airfares alone for just the preliminary round and is understood to have directed that the club’s executive to downsize their delegation.
The Mayor, however, declined to discuss much on the issue referring questions to the club’s leadership.
“I don’t run the football team at all and the best bet would be to talk to team management.
“A delegation of 56 people would shock me,” Manyenyeni said.
Club chairman Alois Masepe said he did not have much details on the trip as he was not travelling and was not involved in the organisation of the tour.
“I am not involved in the organisation of the trip because I am not going. I just know few details that the team is playing away from the capital city some 600 kilometres away. I don’t have the exact number of the people going,” said Masepe.
Apart from the more than $54 000 on airfares, Harare City would need to cater for the accommodation, meals and allowances for their huge delegation for the five days the team would be in Madagascar.
The Harare City delegation is scheduled to leave next Tuesday and sleep over in Johannesburg before catching the connecting flight the following morning. From Antananarivo, they will also need to connect by air to the North West city of Mahajanga, which is on the tip of the Indian Ocean.
The islanders last week brought a squad of 25 people with Harare City catering for their transport here while the visitors paid for their own accommodation and meals at Holiday Inn on the understanding that the Sunshine Boys will look after themselves in Madagascar.
In the past the host team or nation used to cater for the accommodation, meals and transport of the visiting side and expected reciprocal treatment.
CAF, faced with numerous complaints over the years from travelling clubs and national teams who alleged sub-standard accommodation when playing away, changed the format and suggested that a visiting side would have to use own resources for catering.
Only the in-land transport costs remain as the obligation that a home team has to fulfil.
The travelling party has 20 players, 10 members from the technical team, and 13 officials from the council including deputy mayor Christopher Mbanga, two other councillors, a media officer from council and a French interpreter.
The list also has one journalist from the print media and two from the electronic media.
Club media officer Hope Chizuzu defended the size of the delegation of and instead blamed The Herald for being “sensational’’ in questioning why they had chosen to take a bigger contingent for the Sunshine Boys’ maiden trip on the continent.
Chizuzu claimed that “the size of the delegation is only bloated in the eyes of The Herald’’.
Harare City Delegation List
Head of Delegation (TBA from ZIFA).
Officials: Christopher Mbanga (Council Representative and Deputy Mayor) Panganai Charumbira (Chairman Information Committee — responsible for all sporting activities in Council), Resias Masunda (Councillor), Mathew Marara (secretary-general), Tendai Kwenda (treasurer), Hope Chizuzu (Media Officer), Administrator (Everisto Mukumba), Interpreter.
Media: One journalist from the print media and two journalists from the electronic media.
Technical Department: Taurai Mangwiro (head coach), Assistant coaches (Mkhupali Masuku and Mike Madzivanyika), Goalkeepers’ coaches (Richard Tswatswa and Witness Munkuli), Welfare Manager (Pardon Chivasa), Kudzai Masunda (team doctor), Farai Muguwe (Physiotherapist), Lastword Siniwa (Medic), Kuda Murambiwa (Kit Manager).