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Chiyangwa acknowledges AFCON mess

by reporter263

ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa has acknowledged that the Warriors’ trip to Guinea was badly organised, but has vowed to ensure that the senior team will receive adequate preparations for the African Cup of Nations finals in Gabon next year.Chiyangwa-Chivhayo and Sibanda 550

The Warriors were on the verge of failing to travel to Conakry in time for their final Group L qualifier against Guinea, with Callisto Pasuwa and his men only arriving in the West African nation in batches hours before the encounter.

The Warriors lost the match 1-0, but the result did little to affect the final Group L standings as Zimbabwe had already booked their place at the continental soccer piece scheduled for Gabon next January.

Chiyangwa, however, conceded that ZIFA could have done better in terms of getting the Warriors to fly to Conakry on time and the Harare property mogul said his leadership had drawn some vital lessons from the assignment.

“On behalf of the Zimbabwe Football Association and indeed the football loving family of this country.

“I would like to salute our Warriors for displaying their fighting qualities and narrowly going down to Guinea in the difficult conditions of Conakry on Sunday night,” he said in a statement.

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“As may be common knowledge by now, we did not have the best of travelling arrangements more so to a tricky a destination such as Conakry and I acknowledge that as an association and as a nation we could have done better in that regard as this impacts on the team’s performance.”

ZIFA, with the support of the Government, chartered an Air Zimbabwe plane that eventually flew the Warriors to Conakry and back and Chiyangwa also saluted the State and all those who partnered them in ensuring that the fixture was fulfilled.

“. . . I would like to pay special tribute to the Government of Zimbabwe through the Minister of Sport and Recreation Honourable Makhosini Hlongwane, NetOne, Air Zimbabwe and all our valued corporate partners and friends who came on board to ensure we successfully managed to fulfil the fixture and complete our qualification campaign.

“We believe that we have drawn some important lessons both administratively and technically from this trip to Guinea, which should stand us in good stead as we now turn our full focus to the actual African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in Gabon in January 2017’’.

Chiyangwa said ZIFA would also step up their act once the Warriors know of the identity of their opponents at the Nations Cup draw to be conducted by the Confederation of African Football in Libreville.

“The AFCON finals will be preceded by a draw to be held in Libreville, Gabon, on 19 October which will give us the identity of our group opponents for the tournament.

“Our technical team will soon roll out their training programme and where they would prefer to camp in preparation for the finals.

“In this regard I would like to assure the nation that we are working round the clock to ensure the Warriors’ preparations for Gabon are as smooth as possible and this is despite the challenges that we are facing as an association in a tough and difficult economic environment,’’ Chiyangwa said.

The ZIFA boss maintained that the task of ensuring that both the Warriors and the Mighty Warriors achieve success on the international front was not his and the association’s alone.

The Mighty Warriors will be the first to plunge into Nations Cup battles when they represent the country in the Women’s edition of the continental tourney in Cameroon in November.

“I must reiterate that the 2017 AFCON finals campaign is not for ZIFA alone, it is not for Philip Chiyangwa alone . . . it is a collective responsibility for a soccer loving country — Zimbabwe — and I once again call upon the corporates, individuals and indeed Government to all join hands with ZIFA to make the Gabon campaign a successful one.

“Together we can and we believe we have the right player material to bring us success and it is up to all of us individually and collectively to give the Warriors the support they need and as I have said previously we also have the Mighty Warriors going to the Women AFCON in Cameroon from November 19 to December 3.

“Like their Warriors brothers, the Mighty Warriors also need our collective support and partnerships in order to afford them adequate preparations that will enable them to be in the right condition to conquer Africa which is a strong possibility.

“We are in a strong position to achieve double success at the respective African Cup of Nations tournaments and we have it within our powers as Zimbabweans to achieve that,’’ said Chiyangwa.

The Mighty Warriors are expected to use the experience gained from their maiden appearance at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to good effect when they feature at the continental competition in Cameroon.-Herald

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