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Fifa upbeat

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Fifa development officer in charge of East/Southern Africa Ashford Mamelodi yesterday said he was confident that Zifa would meet its deadline to have completed the first phase of their Goal Project at the Zifa Village in Mt Hampden.

Mamelodi, who was led on a tour of the facility by Zifa officials and architects responsible for the project, expressed satisfaction with the work that had been done where construction has been ongoing since the turn of the millennium.

But the facility which at one time was considered sub-standard and unsuitable to host a centre of excellence, now seems to be taking shape with the main auditorium nearing completion although work is yet to start on the training field.

“I’m very happy with the work that has been done so far. The place is now beginning to look like what we have always wanted it to be so we now have to start thinking about the second phase.

“It is only after the second phase that we will begin to see the real Zifa Village that it ought to be and what we had planned.

“There were other defects that had to be rectified, like the electrical connection, but they have all been rectified and it looks like the contractors will be able to meet their deadline for this particular phase which has been set for January 15,” said Mamelodi.

Mamelodi, who is based at the Fifa office in Botswana, has also pledged to make regular visits to Harare to ensure progress at the Zifa Village is not stalled and added that further funding could only be made available for the next phase of the project.

“This is just one of the many phases that we will support so that Zifa Village becomes a real training point for the various national teams and other technical activities.

“The next phase will require about half a million dollars and the decision will only be made in March when the Goal Bureau meets. Provided we are ready with our documentation we will go to that meeting for what we call Goal Three in Zimbabwe,” said Mamelodi.

After his visit, he met with the Zifa president Cuthbert Dube, chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze and his secretariat and the Constitutional Review Committee.

Successive Zifa boards have over the last 12 years struggled to take advantage of the annual Fifa grants meant for development since the inception of the Goal Bureau by the world body.

This has meant that Zifa have also lagged behind other countries on the continent which have utilised their Goal Project grants to build centres of excellence, association headquarters and acquire more properties.

To their credit, Fifa have, however, sought to give the current Zifa leadership — which came on board on March 27 last year — a chance to implement their vision and revive the Goal Project.

It is against this background that Fifa early this year had to waive some of their stringent regulations to approve the release of an additional $150 000 to Zifa, which assisted the association to complete the much-awaited second phase of their project.

The $150 000 is over and above the $400 000 which Fifa had last year approved for the same project that includes completing major refurbishment work at the Zifa Village and building of a new structure.

Mashingaidze, who accompanied Mamelodi on a tour of the facility, paid tribute to Fifa for working tirelessly to ensure that Goal Project was completed.

The Zifa Village, which is situated on the outskirts of the capital, was bought by Zifa in April 2000 after Fifa had granted permission for the project.

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