THE Footballers Union of Zimbabwe have lashed out at ZIFA’s lack of preparedness for the international friendly match against Malawi set for this weekend.

The Warriors are expected to leave for Malawi by road on Friday afternoon with a lightweight squad of 18 players. Their preparations ahead of the game have been shambolic.

Most of the foreign-based players failed to report for duty because of various reasons. The coach, Zdravko Logarusic, was forced to turn to the local-based players, some of whom have not been involved with competitive football since November last year.

FUZ said the move put their players in great risk of picking up injuries. The players’ representative body is also not happy with the travel arrangements which will see the Warriors taking a 600km road trip to Blantyre.

“As the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe we are greatly concerned about the readiness and preparedness of the players in terms of the Friendly match scheduled for Malawi,” said FUZ in a statement.

“The health and safety of players is not negotiable.

“According to the Return to play protocols in normal football settings players need a full pre-season training program which is about 6-8 weeks and for those whose leagues have resumed at least three weeks of high intensity group training is required before resuming play so that players retrain optimally football specific endurance, speed, strength and coordination.”

FUZ added that the Warriors’ travelling arrangements were not ideal. The organization said the best way for ZIFA was to cancel the match.

“All kinds of travel can take a toll on health for reasons ranging from dehydration to exhaustion which can contribute to decreased performance, players’ accuracy and reaction time and increased chances of making errors that can cause injuries to them.

“The low levels of preparedness by the association in relation to this match thus leaves our players at high risk of injuries, fatigue and other career threatening problems.

“As FUZ we wish to make an appeal to the authorities to cancel this game for the goodness of our players and find another solution which does not leave our members susceptible to health problems.

“Let’s not continue normalising abnormal situations and setting a wrong precedence due to lack of planning.” -Herald