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Tunisia Hit Out At Zimbabwe Rugby Claims Over 'Sleeping On The Street' Fiasco

Tunisia Hit Out At Zimbabwe Rugby Claims Over 'Sleeping On The Street' Fiasco
By Gavin Cooney Updated

The Tunisian Rugby Federation have today done what their football team failed to do for long chunks of the World Cup and gone on the offensive.

Ahead of a Rugby World Cup qualifier away to Tunisia over the weekend, the Zimbabwe team were forced to sleep on the streets due to what was reported as "appalling accommodation and a lack of funds".

The team, known as The Sables, are coached by former South African international Peter de Villiers.

Backrow Takudzwa Mandiwanza told Zimbabwean radio station Capitalk FM that the team had been detained for hours on arrival at the Tunis airport and that had it not been for De Villiers paying for food out of his own pocket, they would not have eaten.

Last week, the team lost 45-36 to Kenya in another qualifying game.

"We have not been paid our daily allowances for our duration in Kenya, including our match fees that we did not receive," said Mandiwanza.

"Now we’re in Tunisia, we were detained at the airport for close to six hours, with no allowances given to us.

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"We’d be hungry right now. The situation is very frustrating and disheartening."

In a statement, Rugby Africa said it addressed the situation immediately upon being informed and that more acceptable accommodation has since been found.

Now that's been sorted, the Tunisian Rugby Federation have come out strongly to shift the blame onto Zimbabwe.

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They did so in a statement that promised much, headlined as it was "The Tunisian Rugby Union strongly deplores the anti-sports and unethical actions of the Zimbabwean delegation".

The Tunisian Federation claimed that the hotel they had allocated to their visitors met the required standard of two star. The Federation say that it's "It is important to note that the delegation of Zimbabwe started complaining as soon as they arrived".

After a lunch offered by the Tunisian Union to its guests, an air-conditioned bus transfer was ensured for the members of the Zimbabwe delegation to the city of Béjà. 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.

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.

At 6:30 in the morning; and after the efforts and interventions of the organizational committee and members of the Tunisian Union, the Zimbabwe team was transferred to the ALRAWABI hotel in Nefza where they expressed their satisfaction with an apology to the chairman of the organizational committee.

However, the Tunisian Rugby Union expresses its deep regret for this unfortunate event and strongly deplores the anti-sports and unethical actions of the Zimbabwean delegation which do not reflect the strong ties of friendship between the two countries.

It confirms through this press release that Tunisia is, and will always be, a country of hospitality, always proven and that will make its pride.

We await another development.

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See Also: Simon Easterby To Take Temporary Ulster Role As IRFU Scotland Dispute Continues

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