ZIFA are set to reward the Warriors for sealing qualification to the 2021 AFCON finals.
Zimbabwe secured a third successive berth, at the continental football showcase, with a game to spare, when the Warriors beat Botswana 1-0 in Francistown, last Thursday.
Coach Zdravko Logarusic even had the luxury of a trial-and-error experiment, when he deployed a number of fringe players, in the final qualification game against Zambia, at the National Sports Stadium, on Monday night.
The Warriors lost the match 0-2.
And, despite ending the campaign on a losing note, ZIFA have committed to reward the team, for flying high the country’s flag high.
The association president, Felton Kamambo, said the funds were already in place and the board will now have to sit and determine how much each player will get.
The board meeting could be held, within the next two weeks.
This was the first full campaign, for the Warriors, since Kamambo became the ZIFA president.
Although Kamambo was the ZIFA president, when the Warriors completed their qualifying campaign, for a place at the 2019 Nations Cup finals, the team only played one game, under his watch.
He had taken over, as the leader of domestic football, a few months later, when the Warriors, needing a win at home over Congo-Brazzaville, to book their place at the 2019 Nations Cup finals, did just that.
Goals from Khama Billiat and Knowledge Musona powered the Warriors to a 2-0 victory.
“The money (to pay bonuse) is there and what’s left is for the board to meet, maybe in the next two weeks, and see what we can give them (Warriors), as a reward for their AFCON qualification,” said Kamambo.
“But, as far as all other payments are concerned, we don’t owe anyone anything.
“We are up to date, in as far as those payments, both to the players and the technical team, are concerned.
“We are also up to date, as far as our employees are concerned, a lot has improved and we are very happy.”
Kamambo said he is doing what he promised, before taking charge of the association, and stressed the team should now focus on improving their showing at the AFCON finals.
“I am a very happy man, happy for the nation and happy for all football stakeholders. It feels good to qualify,’’ he said.
“When I assumed office I said football will do the talking and qualifying for major tournaments, especially the AFCON finals, will be the norm going forward.
“This is what has happened in the three years I have been in charge.
“What we now wish is to see the team progressing beyond the group stages and I feel we have a team which is capable of doing that.
“When I said football will do the talking, I meant it and if you have realised, everything is now efficient.
“For example, for the Botswana trip, we booked our flights and accommodation well in advance. Just after the CHAN tournament in Cameroon, we secured everything and we knew how we would travel to Botswana.
“All those things mean football is doing the talking.”
With the World Cup qualifiers, starting in two months’ time, Kamambo believes the Warriors stand a good chance to finally make it to the 32-team jamboree.
“We need to put more effort and try to qualify for the World Cup.
“We should always be working hard to achieve those targets.
“World Cup qualification starts in a matter of two months’ time and, we have a good chance of topping our group and progress to the play-offs, then we will take it from there.”
Meanwhile, Government, through the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, has congratulated the Warriors for giving the nation something to cheer its spirits, in these tough times of the Covid-19 pandemic. Tino Machakaire, the Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Deputy Minister, who was one of the guests during the Warriors’ last match against Zambia at the National Sports Stadium, hailed coach Zdravko Logarusic and his charges.
“This qualification for the 2021 AFCON finals means a lot for the country. Football fans are, at the moment, being denied a chance to cheer the game at the stadium,” he said.
“Covid-19 has denied people to live their normal lives and this achievement by the Warriors couldn’t have come at better time.”
Machakaire has also reserved special mention to the work by artisans who have improving the National Sports Stadium’s playing surface.
“It’s beautiful and world-class. We can’t ask for more. We implore them to continue working hard, even after the renovation works at the stadium, are complete.”