The Tunisian Rugby Association has made a u-turn after initially taking responsibility for the shameful and despicable treatment of the Zimbabwe Sables who were forced to sleep outside ahead of a crucial World Cup Qualifier slated for Saturday.
They now say Zimbabweans chose to sleep on the street over frivolous issues like slow internet and unavailability of a swimming pool.
Here is their full statement:
“It is important to note that the delegation of Zimbabwe started complaining as soon as they arrived on July 2 at the Tunis Carthage airport. Indeed, the head of the delegation refused to pay the entry visa fees on Tunisian territories (60 dinars per person) explaining that he did not have the amount requested knowing that the Tunisian union had previously informed Rugby Africa by mail on June 8, informing them on all these procedures that go beyond the prerogatives of the union.
“Nevertheless, the head of the delegation persisted in not paying these fees, which caused a long delay for the members of the delegation and a four-hours delay. We had to contact the CEO of Rugby Africa who spoke on the phone with the head of the delegation 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 African countries,” said part of the statement.
The Tunisian Rugby Union also alleged that Zimbabwe took it upon themselves to leave the hotel the Union had booked them into – citing slow internet speed and the state of one bathrooms and the fact that there was no swimming pool in the hotel.
“They arrived at the hotel around 20:00, checked in at reception and all the members of the delegation of Zimbabwe were entitled to a dinner, until then no problem was reported,” it continued.
“Around 23:00, the head of the Zimbabwean delegation expressed reservations about the state of the bathroom in one of the rooms, the lack of a swimming pool and the low internet speed. So, he started talking about leaving the hotel on the pretext that it is not decent enough for his team.
“The quick intervention of the president and three members of the organizational committee was not enough to calm him down and convince him to spend the rest of the night at the hotel, ensuring that they would find solutions in the next morning with the possibility to change the hotel.
“Instead, 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 to talk and negotiate with the head of delegation but remained unsuccessful,” said the press release.