HARARE – Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa says he single-handedly took care of the welfare of the Mighty Warriors during last year’s African Women’s Cup of Nations (Awcon) finals in Cameroon.
Debate surrounding the Mighty Warriors’ upkeep has swelled in recent weeks following the Warriors’ disappointing showing at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Gabon.
Although a fundraising committee was set up, virtually no corporates came on board to support Shadreck Mlauzi’s ladies.
It was a different case with the Warriors as the government bankrolled the side to the tune of $1 million while NetOne chipped in with a sponsorship package of $250 000.
Even Parliamentarians were up in arms last week as they took Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane to task on why the women’s side was being treated as second-rate citizens but the government went to great lengths to pamper the Warriors.
The issue of equal pay for women has been a great source of debate around the world but Chiyangwa denied that Zifa was deliberately mistreating the Mighty Warriors.
“I would like to set the record straight on issues relating to the Mighty Warriors’ Awcon campaign and simply put; I paid for their participation in Cameroon and nobody else did,” Chiyangwa told the Daily News yesterday.
“I paid for the uniforms that I purchased from South Africa as well as the duty and requested the team manager to remain in Harare with another person so they would take the uniforms with them to the games.
“I paid for the air tickets, I paid their bonuses and this is the first time that the girls have received reasonable amounts in their accounts.
“This is the reason why you saw that the girls never complained when they got back from Cameroon neither was there any drama at the airport when they touched down because their dues reflected in their accounts while they were still in Cameroon.”
The Mighty Warriors got a raw deal during their maiden participation at the Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil where they reportedly received measly allowances tantamount to mockery.
Chiyangwa said that was his association’s wake-up call and since then they have done their best to improve the conditions of the girl child.
“We cannot talk about Rio, that event was being administered by Zoc and it’s now a thing of the past. I now take charge of my team and they were well catered for at Awcon and never complained because they were very happy,” he said.
“Nobody else has even given them money and if anyone is saying otherwise, it’s a lie; I challenge them to come forward with evidence and I will give them a reward.
“I find it absurd when a male complains on behalf of the girls; are you a woman? Stop peddling falsehoods in order to pursue selfish and personal aggrandisement.
“You will never see the Mighty Warriors stranded, they are a very important arm of our association and if anything they have reached where many have failed and largely remain our treasured heroines.”