'I paid my own flight to play for Zim'

AFCON News

Zimbabwe defender Onismor Bhasera admits he paid for his own flight before steering his country to the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualification.

Bhasera, 35, received a late call-up to the squad by coach Zdravko Logarušić after several players were ruled out of contention for their crucial qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia.

The SuperSport United full-back who last represented the Warriors in 2017 showed no hesitation to adhere to the call and went on to pay for his own flight and play 90 minutes in the 1-0 in Francistown without training with the squad.

"That's true [I booked my own flight and paid for it], initially I was the late inclusion in the team like you've heard," he tells KickOff.com.

"I was supposed to meet them on their way to Bostwana at OR Tambo but when I got there were some issues and I could see if I continued standing there exchanging calls I would end up missing the flight."

Having made his debut back in 2008, the former Kaizer Chiefs defender represents one of their most experienced players in the squad and he felt that he needed to eliminate the administration issues or risk letting his country down.

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"I thought whatever the differences are, I will sort it out with the federation there so let me just pay my own ticket otherwise I might miss the game which was the next day," Bhasera admits.

"There wasn't really time for quarrelling, duty called, I needed to be there to represent my country so I had to do that, I paid my own ticket then flew."

While he admits it's "not the first time" he's done it and would do it "over and over again" he confirmed that the reimbursement issue will be sorted out at a later stage.

Ahead of their game against Zambia this evening, he denied there was a different kind of pressure representing his country after a four-year absence.

"It was business as usual for me, nothing special, I've been there in that sort of situation before - it was just going there like a kid training in the park [because of my experience]," he said.

"It was important to lead the young guys and tell them how important it is [to beat Botswana] and represent your country and when you are selected for your country because there are so many who want to.

"We didn't want to go to Zambia and scrap for points, we wanted to win that game and wait for the result, we prayed that Algeria did something against Zambia and it was done and dusted before our last match."

The Southern African side face the Chipolopolo in a dead rubber this evening at the National Sports Stadium in Harare with their qualification alongside reigning champions Les Verts already sealed.

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