The Zimbabwe rugby team has been moved to a ‘suitable hotel’ after being forced to sleep on the streets of Tunisia on Monday night.
The Sables squad, coached by former Springbok boss Peter de Villiers, first encountered issues at passport control upon entering Tunisia, where they are set to play a World Cup qualifier this weekend. The team then had to turn to sleeping on the streets after being greeted by appalling conditions at the allocated accommodation.
Pictures of players sleeping outdoors led to a massive backlash on social media, and on Tuesday, Rugby Africa and the Tunisia Rugby Union issued a joint apology.
‘We would like to reassure the Zimbabwean Ministry of Sports, Zimbabwe Rugby Union, and all partners and fans that the situation was addressed immediately, and an acceptable solution has been found. Tunisia Rugby Union took the Sables management to visit another hotel, which was accepted,’ the statement read.
Khaled Babbou, an executive member of Rugby Africa, is currently on his way to Beja to inspect the facilities and meet with the Sables team.
‘I apologise on behalf of Tunisia Rugby Union, we pride ourselves in hosting Rugby Africa tournaments every year and make every effort to meet the best international standards in terms of accommodation and other infrastructure,’ he said.
‘Something went wrong for which I am sorry… I can assure you that there was absolutely no intention to destabilise our opponents and we will make every possible effort to ensure they have a good preparation ahead of Saturday’s match.’
The president of Rugby Africa Abdelaziz Bougja confirmed that ‘hosting agreements are signed by the six participating unions in the Rugby Africa Gold Cup, and are very clear and strict in terms of accommodation standards’.
‘We rely on our unions to make sure the requirements are met and it is unfortunate that it seemed not to be the case with this hotel in Tunisia,’ he added.