Zimbabwe turned down Mozambican offer for a friendly

Zimbabwe turned down Mozambican offer for a friendly
Zimbabwe's Khama Billiat

by Graeme Jackson

Thursday Jun 03, 2021. 17:00

The Warriors, Zimbabwe’s senior national team, will be inactive during this international window, but it has emerged that they could have played a friendly against neighbours Mozambique.

The Herald reports that the Mozambique Football Association sent a letter to their Zimbabwean counterparts, ZIFA, proposing a friendly in Maputo this weekend.

“It is with great pleasure that [the] Mozambique Football Association is inviting the senior football team of Zimbabwe for a friendly match to be played in Maputo on the weekend of June 5/6 2021,” read part of a letter sent to ZIFA in early May.

“The Mozambique Football Federation will cater for accommodation and food for the proposed friendly match.

“The Mozambique Football Association will field our full senior team for the World Cup matches later in the year.”

However, ZIFA claims that a lack of time and resources has forced them to turn down Mozambique’s offer and fail to come up with any alternatives.

“The abrupt postponement of (World Cup qualifying) matches was too short a notice for us to organise matches, in line with standard operating procedures, during the pandemic,” said ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela.

“We do not have adequate time at this stage to agree with other Member Associations for a friendly match, and to get necessary approvals even if we wanted to play.

“The Sport and Recreation Commission requires a 30-day notice for us to be allowed to organise an international match while FIFA requires a 21-day notice for us to get authorisation to organise an international friendly.”

Gwesela added, “The astronomical amounts involved in organising matches during a pandemic, against the background of funding of national teams (or lack thereof) also forces us to carefully select matches that benefit the team while the association remains sustainable.

“The economic environment is the driving force for all business operations, including media houses, and we find it mind boggling why ZIFA is always expected to be awash with money in an environment where most organisations are struggling.”

Zimbabwe will open their Group G 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign with matches at home to South Africa and away to Ethiopia in September. Ghana also feature in the group.

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