Thursday Aug 12, 2021. 12:00
Zimbabwe senior national team manager Wellington Mpandare has explained that the Warriors will face a tough travel schedule for their upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifying matches.
Zimbabwe are set to face South Africa at home and Ethiopia away in their first two Group G matches, slated to take place between August 30 and September 7.
Zimbabwe are expected to host neighbours Bafana Bafana at the National Sports Stadium in Harare and then travel to Ethiopia a few days later.
Mpandare explained to The Herald that their plans are complicated by the fact that the game against Ethiopia will be played in Bahir Dar, roughly 500 km away from the capital and travel hub of Addis Ababa.
Bahir Dar Stadium is the only facility that has been cleared by CAF to host World Cup qualifiers in Ethiopia.
“We had hoped to host South Africa on September 4 and then travel to Ethiopia the following day,” Mpandare said.
“But, the challenge is that the game in Ethiopia will not be played in the capital city Addis Ababa. We have to travel about 500km, to the match venue.
“We have been checking the flights and the unfortunate thing about that trip is that we will not be able to arrive there on the same day.
“So, let’s say we play South Africa on September 4, then we leave the following day, it means we may only be able to arrive there on September 6, and the next day we play Ethiopia.
“The dates have not been confirmed yet, but it’s something that we are working with in mind.”
Something which could help Zimbabwe is if the clash against South Africa is brought forward, though the travel arrangements for foreign-based stars may make this difficult to confirm.
“It’s not going to be easy because our players will be travelling from various parts of the world and, with the difficult travel arrangements during these pandemic times, we are just hoping to get everyone in camp on time,” said Mpandare.
Zimbabwe coach Zdravko Logarusic will name his squad for the matches against South Africa and Ethiopia in the coming weeks.