The Zimbabwe national team squad arrived in Egypt as a team to take part in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, but when they left they had to go as individuals.
According to sources close to the team, ZIFA told the players the federation’s coffers were dry and they had to buy their own plane tickets to return to their different destinations.
Most people were shocked when they saw arguably the COSAFA region’s most talented squad underperform in Egypt. At one stage ZIFA even threatened to pull the team out in the middle of the tournament when players asked about their promised bonuses.
“Some players are still stuck in Zim, I understand there are issues with their travel tickets,” a source tells KickOff.com.
“I gather they have no money for tickets. Tickets from Egypt to their respective places. ZIFA man, I understand even the hundreds of supporters they took there are stranded.
They chartered a flight for supporters on an all-expenses-paid ten days… now they can’t pay for their returns. I am talking to some players who tell me there are no tickets.”
A second source confirmed the news.
“Well the players are back now, they booked flights themselves to Jozi, some to Zim. They [ZIFA] say they don’t have money, they are waiting for the money from CAF,” the source adds.
“Other players had to book for those who didn’t have money so they could just go. But the players they won’t tell you because they are afraid of ZIFA, to be banned and stuff, you know our country. You know the story.”
Meanwhile Zimbabwe are in the middle of an alleged match-fixing scandal at the Africa Cup of Nations following their 4-0 defeat to DR Congo.
Zimbabwean publication The Herald quotes reports in the Madagascan media that DR Congo could be kicked out of the tournament for trying to influence the result of the match against The Warriors on June 30.
It is claimed in those reports that wealthy TP Mazembe owner and politician Moise Katumbi may have been involved in a plot to sway Zimbabwe goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze to underperform in the 4-0 loss.
It even reports that “a large sum of money was supposed to be transferred into the bank of the Zimbabwean goalkeeper but the transaction was not completed after an Egyptian bank raised the red flag and reportedly declined to handle the issue”.
Baroka FC keeper Chipezeze only played in the match after first-choice George Chigova picked up an injury during the warm-up but did not cover himself in glory, conceding some soft goals.
The matter is now being investigated by a CAF emergency committee, who could remove DR Congo from the tournament and ban the country from the continental tournament for three years as well as issue a hefty fine.
DR Congo were due to play Madagascar in the last 16 but if they are kicked out, their place will either go to The Warriors with a 3-0 scoreline, or Madagascar will be given a walkover.
However, if Zimbabwe are handed the three points from the DR Congo game, they would move to second place with four points in Group A and, as a result, face Senegal in the last 16. Uganda would replace them in the best third-place ranking and take on Madagascar.
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