ZIFA’s organisational and planning inefficiencies were on full display at the Under-17 women football team’s camp in Bulawayo where the girls were made to train in oversized jerseys, walk from training to the camping venue and spend hours at the border en route to Botswana, B-Metro Sport can reveal.
Zimbabwe play Botswana in a Fifa Under-17 World Cup qualifier preliminary round, first leg fixture on Saturday.
The team left for the western neighbouring country on Wednesday afternoon.
The girls spent a couple of days in Bulawayo in camp at Eveline High School while training at Milton High School.
After each training session, the girls were made to walk to the camping venue, a source close to the national team camp told this publication.
The norm is that Zifa hires a bus to transport national teams from training sessions to camp.
“Public transport fares from Eveline High to Milton High cost $5 by person yet Zifa failed to secure transport for the girls to be ferried from training sessions back to their camping venue. And this is our national team we are talking about.
“The players didn’t have proper training kits and instead used oversized jerseys that were most probably used by the Mighty Warriors in the past,” said the source.
To compound the team’s woes, the football mother body failed to secure practice matches for the girls leaving coach Gathly Chipuka to travel to Botswana with a team that had not tested combinations in game situations.
“We cannot measure where they (players) are in terms of fitness because we do not know what surface we are using in Botswana. If we are lucky and we play on artificial grass, it would be good for us but if we play on natural grass we are in a tight spot because I don’t think our fitness levels can.
“The girls have been having their training sessions at Milton High School but have not been successful when it comes to playing practice matches,” Chipuka said before the team’s departure.
On Wednesday afternoon, the day the team left for Botswana, Zifa were again caught offside after it was discovered that three players had travelled from Bulawayo without passports.
Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela could not be reached for comment as his phone went unanswered.