Zimbabwe squad fights for better deals on eve of Africa Cup of Nations

Zimbabwe - led by President Robert Mugabe - is undergoing severe economic problems.
Zimbabwe - led by President Robert Mugabe - is undergoing severe economic problems. Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

Zimbabwe's national football team left Harare for the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday following a row with Zimbabwe Football Association officials over allowances and bonuses.


Players refused to board a flight on Saturday for Cameroon where they will play a friendly on Tuesday before continuing to Gabon where they will feature in Group B in Franceville with Algeria, Tunisia and Senegal.

"We had a fruitful meeting and the players and administration reached an amicable solution," ZIFA spokesman Xolisani Gwesela told AFP.

On Friday, players sat in hotel corridors and refused to attend a farewell dinner at which the country's vice-prresident, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was guest of honour.
"ZIFA totally condemns the behaviour portrayed by the team and their desire to hold the nation at ransom in their quest to earn money that this economy cannot sustain," the association said.

The players have rejected an offer of 950 euros for appearance fees and want nearly 5,000 euros instead. They also want daily allowances to be increased from 47 to 140 euros for players based in Zimbabwe and from 94 to 474 euros for foreign-based players.

The move, on the eve of a tournament for which Zimbabwe has not qualified since 2006, is likely to divide opinion. Zimbabwe's economy has been wrecked by hyperinflation. President Robert Mugabe's government has been accused of corruption and overseeing the collapse of a once booming agricultural industry.

Last year Zimbabwe was expelled from the 2018 World Cup preliminary competition because the country's FA had failed to pay 63,000 euros owed to former national team coach Jose Claudinei Georgini.


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