Hands off Zifa —Tourism ministry

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Wellington Toni
As the debate on the June 2 Brazil-Zimbabwe international friendly match rages on, it has emerged that Zifa has been gagged by the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality from uttering anything on their involvement in the match.
Zifa, the custodians of the local game presided over by Cuthbert Dube, were outmuscled by the ministry and got no cent from the game when it had been thought the national association would cure their bankruptcyfrom the high-profile match.
While prior to the match all information regarding the game was obtained from Zifa, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Sylvester Maunganidze directed 24 hours before the game that Zifa will not have a say in the match.
He wrote: “Please be advised that all the information relating to the Zimbabwe-Brazil match must be sought from the permanent secretary and the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
“This serves to exonerate the Zimbabwe Football Association from the organisation and co-ordination of the game.
“The contract between the two bodies was entered into by the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry and Kentaro.”
The letter was directed to his boss, Mzembi and copied to the Minister of Education, Sport and Culture David Coltart, who gave a word of thanks before the match, Zifa president Dube and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Karikoga Kaseke.
According to a match- staging agreement between Zifa and Kentaro AG, the Swiss company acting as the Brazilian team agents, Zifa was responsible for handling the Samba Boys’ ground transportation, where Pathfinder had won the right to the deal before Munandi buses, owned by Mzembi, eventually won the tender.
While Kentaro said there was a sellout crowd of 60 000 fans, the ministry put the figure at over 65 000, arguing there were a lot of people doing catering outside.
This further confirms an earlier story by NewsDay that close to 72 000 tickets were printed for the match and VVIP tickets were being sold at half the prize or even cheaper than that, but with the money not going into Zifa or the ministry’s coffers.
Tickets were sold for $10 for the rest of the ground, while the VVIP ticket holders forked out $60. The VIP ticket holders paid out $40.
The ministry pocketed the gate-takings, while Zifa were also looking for a share as the custodians of the game.