HARARE – Legislators have called on the Warriors to return part of the hefty pay cheques they received from government after their humiliating exit at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Gabon.
The Warriors were knocked in the group stages after failing to win a single game in Group B after defeats to Senegal, Tunisia and a draw with Algeria.
Government availed $1 million for the team’s participation at the tournament.
Buhera West MP Oliver Mandipaka initiated the discussion on Warriors when he asked the Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane which policy was in place to ensure positive results by national teams in major tournaments.
“… Given that background what is government policy that ensures that we have high performance and better results achieved when our national team goes out to play in international soccer competitions given what happened in Gabon..?” Mandipaka asked.
Hlongwane responded with an apology to the nation on behalf of the Warriors.
“I acknowledge that the whole country to a larger extent is a cemetery of dead emotional bodies owing to that performance that was below expectations…going forward in respect of the particular question on the setting up of Higher Performance Centres in the country.”
Buhera South Member of Parliament (MP) Joseph Chinotimba highlighted to Hlongwane that the Warriors received government funding but could not go past the group stages.
“The money you gave the Warriors was for a month but they lasted only a week so as the august House we are saying bring back that money into the national coffers, where’s that money?
Hlongwane responded: “The money paid to the Warriors was for the three matches that they played in the group stages which comprises appearance fees and bonuses and even though that arrangement (to pay them for the draw against Algeria) was outside the agreed contract.
“They were paid for the draw against Algeria because the players were saying they were not going to fulfil their fixture against Senegal. We did so in order to encourage them to proceed with the tournament given the importance of soccer and how much the people love the game in the country … We agreed to have them paid before the matches so that we would do away with the issue of mistrust between Zifa and the players.”