High expectations as new Zifa board meets

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Expectations among football loving Zimbabweans will be high when the newly elected Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) board holds its inaugural board meeting today.

There is no doubt that Zimbabwean football has literary been in the intensive care – what with the various national teams from the juniors to the senior national team having seen a regrettable decline in professional standards due to lack of sponsorship.

Recently, the Warriors players who were participating in the African Nations Championships had to endure the humiliation of training while commuting from their homes, a situation that exposed the level of unprofessionalism in our local game.

The new Cuthbert Dube-led board was elected into office on March 27, replacing the Wellington Nyatanga board which had been in charge for the past four years in which the association has been bogged down by perennial financial troubles.

The campaign period was dominated by promises and manifestos. Now, it will be interesting to see if the new board will live up to the guarantees and promises they made to pull Zimbabwean football out of the woods.

Zifa recently withdrew the Under 20 national team from the African Youth Championships qualifiers due to financial problems.

As a result, Zimbabwe had to endure the shame of being the only Southern African country to pull out of the continental showpiece for junior national teams which are very important for the development of the game from the grassroots.

Today’s meeting will therefore be a crucial one for the new board members responsible for finance (Elliot Kasu), development (Methembe Ndlovu) and marketing headed by Nigel Munyati.

It will also be interesting to see if the new board will deal with the issue of Henrietta Rushwaya who was being investigated by the previous board for unilaterally sanctioning trips by ‘dubious Warriors sides’ to Malaysia where they brought nothing but shame.

In one of the trips, 2008 premier league champions, Monomotapa, travelled to Malaysia and played their national team under the pretext that they were the Warriors, and even used the national team strip.

The said trips to Asia have been blamed for the downward spiral by the Warriors on Fifa international rankings.

The previous board did not finalise the issue and Cuthbert Dube and his new board will be expected to deal with it decisively, bringing it to conclusion because the Sports and Recreation Commission has made it clear that it wants a report on the issue.

It remains to be seen whether the new board will breathe life into the lifeless association. The inaugural board meeting will be used by many to measure the seriousness of this new board.