Zifa wants Algeria clash cancelled, reveals several clubs unwilling to release players

Zimbabwe Football Association has written to CAF requesting the cancellation of the national team’s Afcon qualifier – away fixture – against Algeria this month.

The Warriors are set to play the Desert Foxes on March 26 in Blida before hosting the second leg three days later at a venue to be confirmed.

As a precaution, Zifa wants the away fixture postponed or the venue changed after the North African country has registered one of the biggest numbers of the deadly coronavirus.

Zifa boss Felton Kamambo confirmed the development when he appeared before the Parliament’s Youth & Sports Committee on Thursday.

“We have written to Caf to say we don’t want to risk our players and the nation by going to Algeria,” he said.

“We have asked Caf to either postpone the game or move it to another venue where there are no reported cases of the coronavirus. We feel even if they put measures to protect the team, it’s not enough and at the same time affecting the team, putting the whole nation at risk.

“So we are hoping they will cancel the match or move it to another venue because it’s a critical tie for us. Whoever wins it is guaranteed to qualify for the Afcon.”

Kamambo also revealed a couple of foreign clubs are reluctant to release the players for national duty because of the virus. Among them is Aston Villa who expressed their unwillingness to allow midfielder Marvelous Nakamba to join the Warriors.

“We are also facing a challenge of about eight foreign-based players coming for our matches because of coronavirus,” he added.

However, Caf, in a statement issued on Wednesday, confirmed all Afcon qualifiers set for this month end will go on as scheduled as no African country has been declared high risk.

“CAF wishes to inform Member Associations and the entire African football family that we are closely monitoring the evolution of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) around the world and in particular the African continent,” reads the statement.

“According to the World Health Organization (WHO), no African country till date has been declared high risk.

“Consequently, CAF has decided to maintain the schedule of all competitions.”

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