TUNISIA: The Zimbabwe rugby team has taken to sleeping on the streets of Tunisia allegedly as a result of appalling accommodation and a lack of funds.
Images have emerged of the Zimbabwe squad, coached by former Springbok boss Peter de Villiers, lying on the streets in Tunisia in response to the apparent poor treatment received.
According to some reports, the team was also held up for hours at the airport when authorities took their passports amid claims that they needed to pay a visa fee, which they could not afford.
On Facebook, former Zimbabwean Minister for Education, Sport, Arts and Culture David Coltart stated that he had received a report from one of the player’s fathers about the situation, and questioned what the government was doing to assist the team in Tunisia.
Zimbabwe – who last qualified for the World Cup in 1991 – suffered a 45-36 loss to Kenya in a World Cup qualifier last Saturday and were next set to face Tunisia.
— Brian Mujati (@MujatiBrewing) July 3, 2018
In a voice note sent to Capitalk FM, Zimbabwe flanker Takudzwa Mandiwanza said the trip had been a ‘shambles’.
‘We have not been paid our daily allowances for our duration in Kenya, including [the] match fees that we did not receive. Now we’re in Tunisia, we were detained at the airport for close to six hours, with no allowances given to us.
‘If it wasn’t for the coach buying us sandwiches and a few drinks from his own money, we’d be hungry right now. The situation is very frustrating and disheartening.’
Zimbabwe Rugby Union president Aaron Jani said that they had received unfulfilled assurances from their Tunisian counterparts that the team would be well taken care of, but are now making alternative arrangements.
‘The representatives of our team have gone through with the Tunisia liaisons to look at an alternative hotel, which has been suggested, so they are addressing the issue.
‘It is unfortunate that it happened during the night, but they’ve had breakfast this morning. I’m in communication with them, and now they’re looking to see if the new hotel is acceptable.
‘If not, we’ve put in a contingency plan that we are prepared to pay for our own hotel accommodation and then deal with the matter later.’