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Zimbabwe's National Women's Soccer Team Boycotted Their Olympics Qualifying Match
The team abandoned its match with Zambia in protest of unpaid fees from last month.
The Mighty Warriors, Zimbabwe's national women's soccer team, were scheduled to play against Zambia in the second leg of their qualifying rounds for the 2020 Summer Olympics being held in Tokyo, Japan. However, a half hour prior to the match kicking off at the National Sports Stadium yesterday, it was called off entirely. This comes after the team also failed to show up for the official Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) camp ahead of the qualifying games. It is reported that the Zimbabwean players were protesting unpaid allowances from last month's matches in the 2019 COSAFA Cup which was held in South Africa. However, Zifa alleges that the players are in breach of their contract, according to BBC Sport.
What was supposed to be Zimbabwe's second opportunity to qualify for the Olympics, may now result in sanctions or a ban altogether from FIFA, ZW News reports. Just a little under a week ago, the Mighty Warriors traveled to Lusaka to play against Zambia in their first qualifying match. However, having traveled by road, the team arrived two days before the game which ultimately left them with very little training time. The players were clearly suffering from fatigue during the game and were defeated 5-0.
While Zifa requested that the game be rescheduled for today, the Zambian team will already be on their way back home. Spokesperson for Zifa, Xolisani Gwesela, denies the allegations that the Zimbabwean players have not received their allowances from last month saying, "We agreed with the clubs that we would pay the players $150 each for the two games, but unfortunately this agreement has been breached."
It is still unclear what repercussions the Zimbabwean players may face as a result of their boycott.