Cash-crippled Zimbabwe to fulfil CAF fixtures

AFP| Last Updated: Mar 20, 2015, 16:51 PM IST
Cash-crippled Zimbabwe to fulfil CAF fixtures

Zimbabwe will fulfil African fixtures despite a cash crisis that triggered their disqualification from the 2018 World Cup, the national football association said Friday.

Spokesman Xolisani Gwesela told AFP that All-Africa Games and CAF under-23 championship engagements would be honoured.

And the country plans to compete in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations -- the showpiece of African Football Confederation (CAF) competitions.

"We are playing Cameroon this Sunday in the All-Africa Games and the under-23 team are also going to compete in the CAF championships," Gwesela said.

"Zimbabwe have also registered to play in the 2017 Cup of Nations and will participate."

Like most African football federations, Zimbabwe rely heavily on government financial support.

But a struggling economy has resulted in severely reduced backing and the Zimbabwe Football Association reportedly has debts of more than $4 million (3.7 million euros).

Gwesela said financial help from undisclosed "well wishers" would ensure the participation of Zimbabwe in the CAF competitions.

The national under-23 team host Cameroon Sunday in the first leg of a qualifier for the 2015 All-Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville.

They then face Swaziland during April in the CAF under-23 championship -- the elimination competition for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

An April 8 draw in Cairo will reveal which three countries the Zimbabwe senior national team face in the 2017 Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Last week, Zimbabwe were dropped as an entrant for the 2018 World Cup Africa zone draw in Russia during July after failing to pay money owed to a former coach.

Brazilian Valinhos -- real name Jose Claudinei Georgini -- coached the `Warriors` for most of 2008 and Zimbabwe admit he is owed 67,000 dollars (63,000 euros) in salaries and allowances.

After missing various deadlines set by world football governing body FIFA to pay the coach, Zimbabwe were expelled from the World Cup.

But the southern Africa country have not abandoned hope of settling the debt and getting back into the World Cup draw.

"We remain optimistic of striking a deal with Valinhos," said Gwesela.

Zimbabwe were ranked 39 in Africa and 124 in the world this month by FIFA.