Dube to meet Blatter at Afcon

Zifa president Cuthbert Dube will this week meet Fifa boss Sepp Blatter in Libreville, Gabon, to brief him on the suspension of players due to alleged match-fixing and the general state of football in Zimbabwe.

Dube leaves today and will be joined by chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze on Wednesday for the 34th General Assembly meeting of the Confederation of African Football (Caf).

The meeting, according to a programme released yesterday, takes place on Friday at 9:30am and a Press conference has been set for 4:30pm and will be addressed by Blatter and Caf president Issa Hayatou.

Another Press briefing will be conducted on Saturday at 4pm before the delegates watch the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) 2012 final on Sunday. Mashingaidze confirmed Dube’s meeting with Blatter.

“He (Dube) will touch base with Ashford Mamelodi (Fifa Southern Region development officer) before he meets Blatter on Asiagate and the general state of football in Zimbabwe,” he said last night.

On national coach Norman Mapeza, he said: “For now nothing has changed and if there is going to be anything, it will be early this week and we will make an official statement. If anything does happen, then we need to have a contingency plan because national team call-ups should be done by February 13.”

The Warriors play Burundi in the 2013 Afcon qualifiers first leg away from home and technical director Klaus-Dieter Pagels could be asked to step in for the match at the end of the month.

The return is in June and it is hoped by then, things would have normalised. The match-fixing scandal has seen the suspension of 81 players who were fingered in the scam and the likelihood is that Warriors coach Mapeza and his assistant Joey Antipas will be the next big casualties.

Former chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya, who was also fingered in the report, was arrested last Friday by the Anti-Corruption Commission for alleged corruption and bribery and is expected to appear in court anytime.

Dube seems to have a sympathetic ear from Blatter, who last month appointed him to the organising committee of the 2013 Confederations Cup to be staged in Brazil.

But what seemed to have necessitated the rush in suspensions and the arrest of Rushwaya was Zifa’s plea to the world soccer governing body to provide at least $2 million to clear debts and recapitalise the association.

The association has been taken to court by a local travel agent for failing to settle a $209 000 debt and wants the headquarters in Livingstone Avenue and the Zifa Village in Mt Hampden to be attached as part of the debt recovery process.

Mamelodi was in Harare last month for the handover of the Zifa Village and sources say he delivered the message that the funding was there, provided Asiagate was concluded and guilty players and officials punished.

Last Friday, Dube told our sister paper, Zimbabwe Independent, that they were closer to settling their debt as they had been encouraged by communication with Fifa and would use the Gabon meeting to push for their case.

“They are sending a financial consultant here and they have since advised us that it’s part of the process aimed at advancing us what we require,” said Dube.

“So the consultant will be coming in the next two weeks and he will look into our debts and since we had asked for US$2 million they can go back and decide on how much they can help us with.

“They have been encouraged by our efforts so far and they share our vision for football in this country, so we are confident we will finally get the help and make a fresh start,” he said.

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