Christopher Charamba Herald Reporter
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry has expressed outrage over the barring of the Zimbabwe Warriors from the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
The Warriors were denied the opportunity to train at the facility by Ministry of Local Government Public Works and National Housing officials over alleged fees owed to them by the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA).
In a tweet, Minister Coventry vowed to get to the bottom of the issue and added that the athletes should be prioritised as without them there would be no federations or stadia.
“The kind of behaviour that happened yesterday is disgusting. Our national players need to be prioritised!
“Federations and Stadium Management need to understand that without our athletes there will be no Federations and no Stadiums! I will be getting to the bottom of this!” her tweet read.
Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare confirmed to The Herald that the national team were barred from training at the National Sports Stadium by ministry officials ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Congo on Sunday.
“When I arrived at the stadium, I was shocked to be advised that the team would not be allowed to use the ground for training because, I was told by an official from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, identified only as Dzukwa, that some complications had arisen.
“The officials from the ministry which is in charge of the stadium said they were not happy that ZIFA had not provided them with access to the electronic system the association is using to sell tickets because, since they get a percentage from the gross amount realised from the sale of the tickets, they felt they needed to monitor the electronic process.” he said
Zimbabweans on social media have also expressed their disappointment and anger over the Warriors being denied the opportunity to train.
In a Facebook post, former Warriors forward Alois Bunjira said the Ministry needed to consider the importance of the occasion on Sunday.
“We have a task at hand for the nation. Couldn’t the matter be discussed and solved while the national team was training so that we don’t jeopardise our chances of qualification?”
The Warriors need to win or draw their match on Sunday to qualify for the continental tournament to be held in Egypt later this year.