Test rugby team ends up sleeping on the street
RUGBY Africa and the Tunisia Rugby Union have apologised to Zimbabwe after its players slept on the street following problems with their accommodation before a World Cup qualifier at the weekend.
Zimbabwe's players have also not been paid their meal allowances on their Tunisian trip, leaving their South African coach Peter de Villiers to fund their food and drink out of his own pocket.
The Zimbabwe team is in Tunisia for a Gold Cup fixture against the North African nation in the town of Monastir on Saturday. The game will serve as a qualifier for next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Images on social media showed players sleeping on the street outside of the hotel they had been allocated.
They did not check in because they felt the hotel was substandard.
"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," Rugby Africa said in a statement.
"Tunisia Rugby Union took the Sables (Zimbabwe) 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."
Khaled Babbou, an executive member of both TRU and Rugby Africa, said there was no intention to disrupt Zimbabwe's preparations for the match.
"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 was quoted as saying by South Africa's News24.
Zimbabwe loose forward Takudzwa Mandiwanza said the issues started ahead of the team's previous match, a 45-36 loss to Kenya in Nairobi last weekend.
"We have not been paid our daily allowances for our duration in Kenya, including our match fees that we did not receive," Mandiwanza told Zimbabwean radio station Capitalk FM.
"Now we're in Tunisia, we were detained at the airport for close to six hours, with no allowances given to us," he said, adding de Villiers had paid for the players to eat.
"We'd be hungry right now. The situation is very frustrating and disheartening."
There was no immediate comment from Zimbabwe rugby authorities.
Namibia heads the Gold Cup standings with a full haul of 15 points from three matches, including an 118-0 victory over Tunisia.
Zimbabwe has a draw and loss from its two matches.
Only the top team advances automatically to the World Cup, with the second-placed side entering a playoff.