HARARE – Sports Minister Kirsty Coventry said she was “disgusted” after the national football team was barred from a training session at the National Sports Stadium on Thursday.
Officials from the Ministry of Local Government blocked access to the ground in a row with ZIFA over accounting for advance ticket sales for Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations final group match between Zimbabwe and Congo Brazzaville.
Zimbabwe need a point to qualify for June’s finals in Egypt.
“The kind of behaviour that happened yesterday is disgusting,” Coventry said on Twitter Friday. “Our national players need to be prioritised! Federations and stadium management need to understand that without our athletes, there will be no federations and no stadiums! I will be getting to the bottom of this!”
ZIFA are trialling an online ticketing system to ease congestion at the gates, but only 18,000 tickets had been sold by Friday, officials said.
The Local Government Ministry which owns the National Sports Stadium collects 12 percent of the gate takings, and officials shut out the Warriors to force ZIFA to give them access to the advance ticket sales data.
The slow pace of advance ticket sales is worrying ZIFA, amid revelations that only 20 turnstiles out of a possible 32 are functioning around the stadium.
Zimbabwe just need a draw to qualify for the finals on Sunday, against a team they held to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture.