Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday authorised the appointment of a special committee to spearhead fundraising efforts for the Warriors ahead of 2019 AFCON finals in Egypt.
The 18-member committee, chaired by acting Minister of Youth, Arts, Sport and Recreation Kazembe Kazembe with businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei as vice chairperson, has been tasked to mobilise US$500 000 for the Warriors.
The committee also includes ZIFA vice chairman Phillemon Machana, Cabinet Ministers Joel Biggie Matiza (Transport and Infrastructure Development), Winston Chitando (Mines and Mining Development) and Nqobizitha Ndlovu (Industry and Commerce).
A number of high-profile captains of industry headlined by Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Divine Ndlukula, Zimpapers Group Chief Executive Pikirayi Deketeke, Lazarus Muchenje (CEO, NetOne), Chipo Mutasa (MD, TelOne), Philip Mataranyika (CEO, Nyaradzo), Sydney Mutsambiwa (CEO, Tongaat Hulett) and multiple award-winning entrepreneur Eve Gadzikwa, are also in the committee.
Sports administrators, including ZIFA board member Sugar Chagonda, Martin Dururu and Margaret Chari, are also part of the committee.
Kazembe met President Mnangagwa, at his offices in Harare yesterday, in the company of officials from the Ministry and ZIFA board members headed by Felton Kamambo.
He said they briefed the President about the state of the sport in the country and the challenges facing the Warriors ahead of AFCON finals in Egypt.
He said the Warriors needed about US$500 000 or ZW$4m to cover the costs of their preparations and participation at this year’s tournament.
The tournament runs from June 21 to July 19.
But that figure is set to decrease when ZIFA get a US$300 000 grant they are expecting from CAF.
As part of the crowd-funding efforts, the committee is expected to hold a fund-raising dinner for the Warriors on the eve of their departure for South Africa next week for the COSAFA tournament.
“As you know, the national football team has qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations which is the most prestigious football tournament in Africa,’’ said Kazembe.
“So, we appraised the President and he was so excited about it and to assist us to fund-raise. We presented to him our challenges, he is going to look into some of the issues, but what he has done is to authorise me to appoint a fund-raising committee on his behalf.
“In other words, he is the one who is appointing the committee which is going to assist our national team to try and raise some resources.
“I know in the past we have had problems in our preparations and this time around I am glad to say that ZIFA have done their best to come up with a comprehensive preparations programme.
“I know they are going to South Africa to participate in COSAFA, as part of their preparations, and from there they go to Nigeria to play against Nigeria.
“There is also a match that they are trying to arrange against Ghana, which is supposed to be played in Dubai. All that requires resources and, so, a committee has been set up and I will be chairing that committee and the vice chairman will be Kudakwashe Tagwirei.’’
The Warriors began camp for both the COSAFA and the AFCON tournaments early this week.
They are set to leave for South Africa next Tuesday, for the COSAFA tournament which gets underway this Saturday and ends on June 8 in Durban.
ZIFA president Kamambo was upbeat about the Warriors’ defence of the COSAFA Cup which they have won a record six times.
“The trip to South Africa has already been taken care of and they are ready to go. We have paid the air tickets and accommodation has been organised,’’ said Kamambo.
“So, whatever we are asking for, is for the expenses after COSAFA.
“We want to keep our guys together so that they gel and become one family. We took advantage of the COSAFA so that it becomes one of our preparatory event in terms of the AFCON preparations.’’
Meanwhile, Uganda, who will take on the Warriors in the second Group A match of the AFCON finals in Cairo, on June 26, have named a United Nations squad drawn from 13 countries, including football outposts like India, for their training camp in Abu Dhabi.
Cranes’ coach Sebastien Desabre, the Frenchman who said he believed the Warriors were the weakest team in Group A, will prepare for the AFCON finals in the Gulf.
The Ugandans have named a completely different team, made up entirely of home-based players, for the COSAFA Cup.
Africa’s best goalkeeper, Denis Onyango, has been included in the Cranes squad.
Uganda Cranes Squad:
Goalkeepers: Denis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns-South Africa), Jamal Salim (Al Hilal-Sudan), Robert Odongkara (Adama City FC-Ethiopia), Charles Lukwago (KCCA FC-Uganda).
Defenders: Bevis Mugabi (Yeovil Town- England), Nicholas Wadada (Azam FC-Tanzania), Awanyi Timothy (KCCA FC-Uganda), Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (Unattached), Ronald Mukiibi (Ostersunds-Sweden), Murushid Juuko (Simba-Tanzania), Godfrey Walsumbi (Unattached), Muleme Isaac ( FK Viktoria Zizkov- Czech Republic), Joseph Ochaya (TP Mazembe-DR Congo)
Midfielders: Tadeo Lwanga (Vipers SC-Uganda), Khalid Aucho (Church Hill Brothers Fc-India), Kirizestom Ntambi- Coffee FC –Ethiopia), Michael Azira (Montreal-USA), Waisswa Moses (Vipers SC-Uganda), Sadam Juma (KCCA FC-Uganda), Faruku Miya (HNK Gorica FC- Croatia), Kizito Luwagga (Shakhter Karagandy-Kazakhstan), Kateregga Allan ( Maritzburg-South Africa), Emmanuel Okwi (Simba SC – Tanzania), Abdul Lumala (Syrianska FC – Sweden)