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Tino, Munetsi boost for Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter
23 Mar 2021 at 06:22hrs | Views
ZIFA yesterday revealed that they had secured a private jet for the French duo of Tino Kadewere and Marshall Munetsi to enable them to fly home for Zimbabwe's Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia.

The Warriors clash with Botswana on Thursday in Francistown in the penultimate Group H Afcon qualifier before concluding their campaign against Zambia at the National Sports Stadium on Monday.

But preparations for two matches have been unkind to Warriors coach Zdravko Logarušic, who will be without several of his Europe-based players who were blocked by their clubs from joining the national team due to COVID-19 concerns.

Most European clubs have blocked their foreign players from travelling outside the European Union during the international break as they will need to be quarantined for at least 10 days on return.

However, the French government on Saturday opened the door for Kadewere and Munetsi and other foreign players in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 to join their national teams after announcing that they will no longer be quarantined on return.

But for players to forgo a quarantine, the association will need to book them in a private plane for the return trip to France.

Other conditions are that players must comply with a strict sanitary and medical protocol (biobubble plus daily PCR test) upon return to their clubs.

Zifa, who are desperate to have Kadewere and Munetsi for the two crucial matches, has decided to partner Mozambique to hire a private plane for their stars based in France.

Mozambique's star player Reinildo Mandava plays for Lille in France.

"Mozambique government has indicated that they will avail a plane to return their player back to France. That is how serious some other nations are with their football. A government is hiring a plane for one player. Zifa are looking to take advantage and are making frantic efforts to convince Mozambique so that Tino and Marshal can as well use that same plane and they share the costs," a source revealed yesterday.

No comment could not be obtained from Zifa officials, but a reliable source said: "There has been communication happening and we expect to get a response tomorrow (today). The negotiations have been very positive, so we expect a good response."

If the negotiations are successful, Kadewere and Munetsi will be expected to leave Paris today and arrive in Harare tomorrow just in time for the team's departure for Botswana.

Meanwhile, Warriors skipper Knowledge Musona joined camp yesterday after arriving from his Belgium base in the afternoon.

The other Europe-based stars who have been allowed by their clubs to travel include goalkeeper Martin Mapisa, who is coming from Spain, and the Turkey-based duo of Teenage Hadebe and Alec Mudimu are expected in the country today.

The bulk of the squad from South Africa was expected in camp last night.

Zimbabwe are second in Group H with five points, five points behind log leaders and already qualified Algeria.

With the top two teams from each group set to qualify to the Afcon finals, the Warriors will book their ticket if they beat Botswana and Zambia fail to beat Algeria on the same day.

Botswana's Zebras have four points, while Zambia's Chipolopolo are at bottom of the group with three.

Source - newsday