Zimbabwean football players racially abused in Poland

HARARE – Zimbabwe soccer players plying their trade at Polish side Legia Warsaw have been racially abused, an investigation by the British Broadcasting Corporation has revealed.\r\n

Legia Warsaw is currently the home of Zimbabweans Takesure Chinyama, Dickson Choto, Method Mwanjali and Evans Chikwaikwai.

“This was confirmed when I met Dixon (Dickson) Choto, the Zimbabwean international who plays for Legia Warsaw," said Mihr Bose the BBC Sports Editor in his televised report.

"Before meeting him I had spent some time watching his team-mates train. This could have been a training session anywhere – people of different colours united by football. But, as we walked round the stadium, he pointed to a stand where his friends and family were not welcome because of the colour of their skin.”

Choto also told me I should not go there as I would not be safe. He also said he had his share of monkey chants and bananas being tossed at him. This happened more at away matches now.

“Worse still, he said when he reacted to such racism on the field of play, Polish football authorities called him to a disciplinary hearing, where the opposition manager said he did not hear the chants, despite being heard loud and clear by Dixon’s wife, who was at home watching on television,” Bose said.

Meanwhile  the Zimbabwe Under -17 team goes into camp Tuesday in preparation for the African Youth Championship in Algeria next month.

The provisional squad of 28 players will go into camp without inspirational skipper Archford Gutu who is on national duty with the Warriors at the Championship of African Nations taking place in Cote d’ Ivoire.

The players will assemble at ZIFA offices before being taken to ZIFA Village where the players will be camped up to March 15.

Henrietta Rushwaya, ZIFA chief executive officer appealed to individuals and the corporate world to assist in either cash or kind to help the Young Warriors while in camp as well as foot their airfares to Algeria. The team needs a staggering USd 311 000 for the players’ needs.

The Young Warriors qualified for the 8th edition of the African Youth Championships after beating Angola 4-2 on aggregate.

This will be the second time the Young Warriors have qualified for the tournament. In 2005, the Young Warriors qualified via the back door after Tanzania- which had spanked Zimbabwe- was disqualified for using an over-aged player.

The Young Warriors went on become the whipping boys of their group losing dismally to Cote D’ I voire and South Africa.

The 8th edition of the African Youth Championship will run from March 19 to April 3 in Algiers, Algeria.