The famous visit by Federation of International Football Associations president Sepp Blatter is now history.
But the million dollar question remains: Will the visit turn around the fortunes of the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa)?
Already some optimists, including President Robert Mugabe, believe Blatter’s visit was a good omen for local football.
President Mugabe jokingly said after briefly meeting the world football governing body supremo: “This is a great visit and from now on we shall never lose matches.”
While President Mugabe put it in a comical way, there is no doubt that every Zimbabwean would envisage a situation where Zimbabwe would “never lose matches” again.
It is a dream shared by all Zimbabweans that we be rated among big footballing nations like Brazil, Germany and Argentina.
The visit was a major coup by Zifa authorities and it was the first of its kind since Independence.
One would be tempted to think that Zifa president Cuthbert Dube’s “Midas” touch is upon the nation.
Dube is a man who has unremittingly preached about turning Zifa around including moving away from headquarters at 53 Livingstone Avenue in central Harare. He calls the place a “Horror House”.
He has been adamant about this idea and many more which could see Zifa being viewed in a positive light. While Blatter is viewed as a controversial figure at the moment after contentious elections recently, Zifa must ride on his trip to improve on their battered image.
But just bringing Blatter to the country is not enough.
Zifa must use the “Blattermania” to set up professional structures which would enhance the development of the game.
Apart from the existing structures in their secretariat, Zifa must establish a vibrant marketing division and a communications department.
Many a time journalists have failed to reach the so-called Zifa spokesperson, chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze, because he is constantly said to be in meetings.
The communication department (public relations office) is vital in disseminating information about goings-on at the association as well as keeping the media informed.
The marketing department is the fulcrum of modern organisations as it helps in promoting corporate products.
Zifa has been shunned by the corporate world and even the government because of unaccountability.
Marketing national teams whichare generally doing well on the international scene could be the starting point.
The women’s team has qualified for the 2011 All-Africa Games and is doing well in the ongoing
Cosafa Women’s championships. Is it not the opportune time to sell this growing brand?
The senior men’s team under Norman Mapeza has revived its chances of qualifying for the 2012 African Cup of Nations finals after a resounding 2-1 victory over Mali. Is it not the time to convince the corporate world to come on board using the current euphoria?
It’s now or never for Zifa to attract meaningful sponsorship into the game. They should use “Blattermania” while it lasts!