Rugby Africa have made a grovelling apology after Zimbabwe’s rugby team were forced to sleep rough ahead of a World Cup qualifier against Tunisia.
The Sables are due to play this weekend in a Rugby Africa qualifier in Tunisia but poor facilities and a lack of funds meant they slept outside their hotel on Monday night.
Damning images on social media caused fury, with Ospreys prop Brian Mujati among those to condemn the situation.
— Brian Mujati (@MujatiBrewing) July 3, 2018
Zimbabwe’s Sables Rugby Team stuck in Tunisia…? Why have we no respect and appreciation for our sportsmen and artists???
They go out there flying the Zim flag high and get very little love at home…we can do better!@zimbabwerugby @ZimbabweSables @edmnangagwa pic.twitter.com/TmPY0aQzoW
— Patience Musa ZIFM (@PatieMusa) July 3, 2018
Now Rugby Africa have issued an apology, “We would like to reassure the Zimbabwean Ministry of Sports, Zimbabwe Rugby Union, and all partners and fans that the situation was addressed immediately, and an acceptable solution has been found this morning. Tunisia Rugby Union took the Sables management to visit another hotel which was accepted.
“Rugby Africa and Tunisia Rugby Union would like to express their sincere apologies to the Sables team and management for this unfortunate situation. This does not reflect the standards of the Rugby Africa Gold Cup competition and we sincerely regret any prejudice caused.”
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Khaled Babbou, an Executive member of Rugby Africa, on his way to Beja to inspect the facilities and meet with the Sables team.
“I apologise on behalf of Tunisia Rugby Union, we pride ourselves in hosting Rugby Africa tournaments every year and make every effort to meet the best international standards in terms of accommodation and other infrastructure. Something went wrong for which I am sorry, but this was corrected this morning in consultation with the Sables management team. I can assure you that there was absolutely no intention to destabilise our opponents and we will make every possible effort to ensure they have a good preparation ahead of Saturday’s match.” Babbou said.
Official Statement ??????? – “I apologise on behalf of Tunisia Rugby Union, we pride ourselves in hosting Rugby Africa tournaments every year and make every effort to meet the best international standards in terms of accommodation and other infrastructure" Khaled Babou https://t.co/23youfqY71
— Rugby Afrique (@RugbyAfrique) July 3, 2018
World Rugby also weighed in on the situation stating: “We are aware of an issue regarding the Zimbabwe team ahead of their Rugby Africa Gold Cup match on Saturday. We have received firm assurances from Rugby Africa that the issue has been quickly and effectively resolved today.”
We are aware of an issue regarding the Zimbabwe team ahead of their Rugby Africa Gold Cup match on Saturday. We have received firm assurances from Rugby Africa that the issue has been quickly and effectively resolved today. Statement from Rugby Africa: https://t.co/22WtIdezap
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) July 3, 2018
Sleeping rough is not the only thing they’ve had to contend with, it’s been reported they were stuck at the airport for 10 hours because the team were not able to pay to the 20 euro per-person visa fee.
Zimbabwe flanker Takudzwa Mandiwanza said the tour was a “shambles”.
Speaking to Zimbabwean radio station Capitalk FM he added “We have not been paid our daily allowances for our duration in Kenya, including our match fees that we did not receive. Now we’re in Tunisia, we were detained at the airport for close to six hours, with no allowances given to us.”
The situation was so bad that head coach Peter de Villiers even used his own money to busy food and drinks for the players.
“We’d be hungry right now. The situation is very frustrating and disheartening.” Mandiwanza said.
Zimbabwe lost 45-36 to Kenya in Nairobi in their previous World Cup qualifier last weekend.
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