EVEN by their standards of bungling and incompetence, Zifa hit a new low yesterday after failing to feed an 18-member Under-23 squad culminating in the players boycotting training ahead of the do-or-die African Championship qualifier against South Africa in KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday.
Although the Young Warriors trained in the morning session after they were provided a substandard breakfast, the players refused to resume training in the afternoon after the cash-strapped Zifa failed to provide them with food at lunchtime.
On Tuesday, the team nearly missed the afternoon training session which was scheduled to start at 3pm again as they had not had anything for lunch.
They were eventually provided lunch at around 4pm before they went for training and for supper, they only had a cup of tea.
However, yesterday, one player, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they decided to cancel the afternoon training session because they could not take it anymore.
“We cancelled the afternoon training session because we are hungry right now. We had a substandard breakfast in the morning and went to training, but we didn’t eat anything for lunch. So we are saying we can’t take it anymore. It makes things very difficult when you get subjected to conditions like this. It’s sad and demoralising,” the player said.
Zifa is also battling to raise about $7 000 for air tickets to travel to South Africa. The Young Warriors had received a major boost yesterday after chief striker Thomas Chideu joined team at training.
But then they trained without head coach Kalisto Pasuwa for the second successive day as Zifa had by yesterday not paid him his outstanding salary from the previous games.
The Young Warriors gaffer skipped the first training session on Tuesday with his handlers saying he could not continue before a payment had been made as promised.
Pasuwa is owed nearly $10 000 in salaries and allowances since his appointment to the post and Zifa has been failing to fulfil their promises to pay the coach.
His manager Gibson Mahachi said yesterday nothing had been paid.
Also unavailable at training is Dynamos defender Blessing Moyo amid reports that he flew to South Africa on Tuesday for trials with an unnamed club.
However, it is the return of Chideu, who recently signed for Cape Town Ajax of South Africa, that has strengthened the team as the Young Warriors seek to beat South Africa in their backyard and book a ticket to the finals in Senegal in December.
Chideu submitted his passport to apply for a South African work permit on Tuesday.
He is expecting to get his travel document from the embassy before their departure to South Africa.
The Warriors are expected to leave for South Africa tomorrow.-Newsday