The Tunisia Rugby Federation has launched an astonishing defence after the Zimbabwe squad slept rough on the streets of Beja on Monday night.
Zimbabwe are in the country for a World Cup qualifier and Rugby Africa and Tunisia originally apologised for the situation.
There was however uproar online after pictures of the team sleeping rough on the streets of Tunisian went viral across social media, including Zimbawean Springbok Brian Mujati.
— Brian Mujati (@MujatiBrewing) July 3, 2018
Rugby Africa issued the following 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.”
After initially apologising, Tunisia have now hit back at the Peter de Villiers fronted Zimbabwe, saying that the rough sleeping was not due to the lack of a hotel, but rather the Zimbabweans causing a fuss.
A lengthy and detailed statement reads:
“For the organization of this event, a commission has been appointed to ensure the smooth running of this sporting event. After several visits to the meeting places and accommodation sites, after various meetings with local authorities (Governor, Mayor, Regional Commissioner for Sports …) and after study of the tournament manual and specifications, Hotel ALADINO was chosen as the accommodation of the Zimbabwe team. The hotel is near the stadium where the match will take place and meets the criteria of the specifications (a 2-star hotel and approved by the Ministry of Tourism).”
They also produced photographs of the hotel in question.
“It is important to note that the delegation of Zimbabwe started the scandals as soon as it arrived on 02/07/2018 at 12.00 at Tunis Carthage airport. Indeed, the team manager refused to pay the entry visa fees on Tunisian territories (60 dinars per person) on the pretext that he did not have the amount requested knowing that the Tunisian federation had previously notified Rugby Africa by letter dated 08/06/2018, informing them of all these procedures that go beyond the federation’s prerogatives and that Rugby Africa had notified the Zimbabwean Federation of visa fees. Nevertheless, the team manager persisted in not paying these fees, which caused a long wait for the members of the delegation and a delay of more than four hours.
“It was necessary to contact the director of Rugby Africa who spoke by telephone with the team manager of Zimbabwe who subsequently agreed to pay the invoice of the visa fees. It is important to note that these visa procedures are common between several African countries.
“The delegation left the airport at around 4pm, leaving all the passports behind for customs officers to finalise the procedure and in order to avoid further delays. A member of Tunisia Rugby Union collected all the passports later on the same evening and returned them all to the Zimbabwean delegation.”
“After a lunch offered by the Tunisian Federation to its guests, an air-conditioned bus transfer of members of the Zimbabwe delegation to the city of Béjà was ensured. Arrived at the hotel around 20:00, the check-in and the formalities of reception made, all the members of the delegation of Zimbabwe were entitled to a dinner, until then no problem was reported.
It says the crux of the Zimabwean upset was one bathroom, slow internet and the apparent lack of a swimming pool.
“Around 23:00, the Zimbabwean team manager expressed reservations about the state of the bathroom in one of the rooms, the lack of a pool and the low internet speed. So, he started talking about leaving the hotel on the pretext that he is not decent.
“The quick intervention of the president and three members of the organizing committee was not enough to calm him down and convince him to spend the rest of the night at the hotel, ensuring that he found solutions the next morning with the possibility to change hotels. Alas, he asked all the members of the delegation to take out their luggage, leave the hotel and spend the night outside on the ground. Unfortunately, local officials have tried with this head of delegation but without issues.
“At 6:30 in the morning; and after the efforts and interventions of the organizing committee and members of the Tunisian federation, the Zimbabwe team was transferred to the ALRAWABI hotel in Nefza ( facebook.com/pg/hotel.alrawabi ) where they issued their satisfaction with an apology to the president of the organizing commission.
“However, the Tunisian Rugby Federation expresses its deep regret for all that has happened and strongly deplores the anti-sports and anti-ethical actions of the Zimbabwean delegation which do not reflect the strong ties of friendship between the two countries.
“It confirms through this communiqué that Tunisia is, and will always be, a country of hospitality and hospitality, something that it has always proved and that will do and will make its pride.”
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