By Hope Chizuzu
The Warriors, who have been in Yaounde for the past week today arrived in Bafossam, their base for the first two matches of this edition of the competition.
Players, management, officials from the SRC and the ministry of Sports chiefs in high spirits, made the short flight to the city that will host them.
Speaking from Cameroon, Warriors manager, Welly Mpandare was in high spirits lauding government for unbelievable support.
“Today we welcomed Mr Benson Dube and the officials from the sports ministry. The delegation had in their possession the team’s loot, a development that saw morale in camp rise.
“Not so much about the money, which offcourse is important but the fact that government considered the welfare of the national team. We can only pledge to give our all as this support is invaluable.
“Everyone is happy that we are being looked after so well as has never happened in the past. This is a demonstration that, as ambassadors of the nation, a lot is expected of us. We will not disappoint,” Mpandare said.
Head coach Norman Mapeza conducted training in the morning with captain Knowledge Musona also available for the session. Admiral Muswe also made the trip from Yaounde after arriving in the afternoon.
Only Jordan Zemura, who was isolating after Covid-19 hit their club in England, is yet to arrive but has since returned a negative result. A PCR will be done tomorrow before he joins the rest the rest of the squad most likely on Friday.
Zimbabwe play Senegal on Monday before engaging Malawi four days later. According to captain Musona, they’re targeting qualification from Group B, which also includes Guinea.
This edition of Afcon is being played in the background of very important decisions made by the SRC – suspending the corrupt if arrogant executive committee fronted by de facto leader Phelimon Machana, who must face the wrath of the law for a litany of sins.
Ironically, the move to remove them from the picture has coincided with flawless preparations for the Warriors in years.
The worst was the last edition in Egypt where girlfriends, journalists and Guptas made the bonanza trip which yielded an early exit plus unpaid bills, still outstanding.
The SRC deserves a part on the back for the brave move in which even the global pack of corruption wolves, Fifa, tried to bully them. They remained resolute, even with the threat of ban, suspension or both from the Fifa family.
The result has been a nation so united against the crooks and a national team preparing for a tournament in the most comfortable circumstances ever. Never before have players been paid fully, but this time they have.
It is now in the court of the Warriors to pay back for the SRC efforts and commitment. The ministry of sport has sent their principal director, Ben Dube to pass a message of encouragement from Minister Kirsty Coventry.
Interesting that no one is talking of government interference at this juncture when money is being availed, but Fifa and its brood of the corrupt cry samoosas, when accountability of the same is asked of.
Well, the SRC are not a talkshow biz…anymore. This crew of committed professionals have pulled down some Jericho walls, perhaps even circling the same seven times as in the times of Joshua.
I don’t care if these men and women are sleeping less, since November 16. What is crucial is that their shift graveyard or otherwise is a brilliant exercise that has added value to our national team, who will play ambassadors on the global stage from January 10.
Go Warriors Go!
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