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The Zimbabwean Gunners may not make it to Egypt because of financial constraints.

Zimbabwean champions Gunners could be forced to withdraw from next month's Champions League tie with Al Ahli because of financial constraints.

The debutants stunned Ahli with a 1-0 round of 32 first leg victory in Harare last Saturday, but are now struggling to make the trip for the return leg on April 4.

"The tragedy about it all is that we are broke, as a team," Gunners chairman Cuthbert Chitima told the Herald.

"We don't have the money to go to Cairo to fulfill the second leg of that tie against Ahli and when you have no money it means that you can't fly.

"It's a long and expensive trip and already, after the first leg, we were left with a huge debt that we need to service and I will be lying to the nation if I tell them that we have the money to go to Egypt.

"We have been to all the relevant offices, in the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture and the Ministry of Finance, to try to get help from the government in the past few weeks. But nothing has been forthcoming and we have reached the end of the road right now.

"It has been a beautiful campaign, and we have all enjoyed it and given the nation a big boost with our success, but it has come at a huge cost to us financially and we are a very young club and we can't afford it. That's the tragedy about our situation.

"Obviously we are a large group and the airlines can't take risks banking on us because there is a big possibility that we might not get the funding to go and they will end up losing business.

"It's sad for the players, given what they did in defence of their nation on Saturday, and for the fans who paid their hard-earned cash to support a team that was representing their country.

"We have tried our best as a club and as football lovers and we have spent a huge fortune doing that. But we are not a bank and we don't have funds. The sad part is that no one appears ready to help us.

"So if we don't get any help very soon, I think I will safely tell you that Ahli will win by default and that will be bad for our football, and our nation as a whole, because this game means a lot to our people."

 

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