Warriors agree to play DRC after bonus stand-off is resolved

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By Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE will not be withdrawing from the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals underway in Egypt after all.

This is despite a misunderstanding between the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) and players over the payment of outstanding allowances, a senior official at the local football mother body has said.

Zifa board member Farai Jere, who is head of the Zimbabwe delegation at the continental showpiece, made the reassurances following reports that the country’s participation was hanging in the balance Thursday night “after a stalemate between Warriors players and Zifa over bonuses”.

Jere said there was never a hint of withdrawing from the tournament and the football association had committed to paying the money owed to the players.

“We never went to Caf to inquire about the possibility of withdrawing from the tournament…We are not pulling out of this tournament. It’s very unfortunate that there was a report that might have come out prematurely while we were in the process of negotiations with the players,” Jere said at a press conference in Cairo, Friday.

“What I would want to assure the whole nation is that come Sunday, we will be playing and the boys will be ready for DRC aiming to go to the next round. The issue of payments has always been a topical issue even before this tournament.

“That is why we had to approach the government to put up a fundraising committee which is currently in place and payments are coming from all angles from the Zifa side, fundraising committee,” he said.

While the CAPS United president could not reveal how much was owed to the players, sources told that Zifa and the fundraising committee had so far paid a total of US$12 500 to each player while another US $5 500 which includes appearance fees and bonus for the 1-1 draw against Uganda on Wednesday was expected to be paid by Thursday night.

Zimbabwe’s participation in the ongoing Afcon finals has been overshadowed by the never ending haggling between the players and Zifa over payment of appearance fees and allowances.

Warriors players boycotted training and threatened to boycott the opening match of the tournament against hosts Egypt after another standoff. They lost the match.

On Thursday, the players had reportedly threatened to boycott Friday’s training and the make or break final Group A encounter against Democratic Republic of Congo, which the Warriors need to win in order to qualify for the knockout stages for the first time in the country’s history.

“During our meeting yesterday (Thursday) we discovered that these guys (players) were not seeing the balances in their accounts from this side for them to know how much has been paid and how much they’re owed based on the payment schedules that have already gone to the bank,” Jere said.

He added: “That has since been clarified. It is now the responsibility of the individual player to make sure that money is transferred from their nostro account into their card account and just like any other country, there are limits per day or time of the money that can be put into the card account.

“So, that has since been clarified and some other players who managed to check their balances managed to find out that the monies that they were paid by the association and the fundraising committee is exactly what is in their nostro accounts so that is where the confusion was.”