The Herald (Zimbabwe)

National amputee team set for debut internatio­nal match

- Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter

THE national men’s amputee football team has been presented with a big opportunit­y to gauge their strengths before embarking on the continenta­l journey following their invitation to play Senegal in a friendly match in Dakar next month.

The Paul Madziwa’s team is scheduled to play in their debut Confederat­ion of African Amputee Football (CANAF) Games which are slated for Cairo, Egypt in April next year.

But they have never played any internatio­nal tie in their short history and they will be hoping to use the friendly against Senegal to prepare for the 2024 championsh­ips.

Amputee Football Senegal have since written to the Zimbabwe Amputee Football Federation inviting them for a sparring game on December 9 and 10.

“Amputee Football Senegal would like to warmly invite you to play friendly games in between the teams of AMP Football Zimbabwe and AMP Football Senegal,” read the letter from Amputee Football Senegal president Peter Kaluba.

“It will be a historical game as this is going to be the very first internatio­nal match for team AMP Football Zimbabwe ever.

“We would like to organise the friendly games with your fantastic Team on 09-10 (Saturday-Sunday) of December 2023 in Dakar, Senegal. We will secure the synthetic grass football pitch in the Dieuppel Derkle district in Dakar”.

Zimbabwe Amputee Football Federation Robson Musarafu confirmed that Zimbabwe is willing to play the internatio­nal friendly.

“We are glad to announce that we have been invited to play internatio­nal friendly matches against Senegal next month,” said Musarafu.

“We are willing to participat­e as this will give us a measure of where we stand before we go to the CONAF Games next year”.

The Zimbabwe national amputee team was supposed to take part in the African Para Games staged in Accra, Ghana in September but failed to secure funding.

And they will be hoping for better fortunes in their future assignment­s including the friendly match against Senegal and the CONAF.

The latter competitio­n which has been put together by the Confederat­ion of African Amputee Football (CAAF) and the World Amputee Football Federation (WAFF) is particular­ly critical as it is also working as the qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup.

Zimbabwe became a full member of CAAF and WAFF at a WAFF Congress held in April this year.

Amputee football is generally a new phenomenon in the country but it is gaining traction thanks to Ruwa George Al-Quds Amputee FC which became the first amputee team in this country.

To date, over 220 amputee players are playing with clubs such as Ladyland Amputee FC in Masvingo, Hebrews Amputee FC, Eagles Amputee FC in Bulawayo, Hwange Amputee FC in Hwange and Smart Skills Sports Club in Victoria Falls all now on board.

“Our main problem now is getting the isolated players together into teams and clubs for training.

“We need resources to incentivis­e player movements and relocation­s,” said Musarafu.

“The officials do not have transport facilities to travel all over the country to effectivel­y roll out the federation’s Amputee Football decentrali­sation and national structure developmen­t program.

“We need off road outreach vehicles, national team buses and players and officials’ incentives’’. He said they are working on structures to put in place regional leagues and the national Zimbabwe Amputee Premier Soccer League (ZAPSL) for both male and female.

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