Zifa positive on Fifa support


Zifa is positive they will get financial assistance from Fifa after officials from the world football governing body concluded a three-day check on their books yesterday.

Fifa financial consultant Rolf Eggenberger and Southern Region Development Officer Ashford Mamelodi arrived in the country on Sunday and met with Zifa board member (finance) Elliot Kasu, president Cuthbert Dube and chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze.

They left yesterday.

The association needs about $2 million to recapitalise — first by clearing their debts that will probably chew half the sum which includes about $600 000 owed to Dube and retrenchment packages.

Fifa said the money is available, but certain fundamentals had to be met, which include conclusion of the match-fixing scandal and putting in place prudent financial practices.

Mashingaidze said: “They are impressed with the current administration of the game and they want a holistic solution to our problems and not piecemeal things. This visit comes from our engagement as a board with Fifa and we are positive financial
assistance will come.

“They looked at the financial situation of the association and what led to the woes we are facing now. We are bankrupt and the causes range from financial mismanagement to fraud. They also looked at the systems in administration and leakages from the past and how these could be plugged.

“Remember we had such commitments as hosting of Cosafa where money was not accounted for; various trips that were supposed to benefit the association and this was worsened by the fact that there were no records.

“We have also the (Jose) Valinhos issue where a coach came in with promises of payments and was not paid. Eventually, money was taken from the Financial Assistance Funds (FAP) to cover that debt. So now they have the whole picture of our operations”

The Fifa team will report to headquarters in Zurich after which a final visit would take place before any decision is made.

Mashingaidze said the team also looked at assets and liabilities of Zifa.

“We are one of the few associations in Africa with assets thanks to the likes of Ndumiso Gumede, Frank Valdermaca and Nelson Chirwa (late). But we need to make use of and safeguard them.”
Zifa receives $250 000 from Fifa annually for the FAP funds, in addition to women football assistance, but these have been diverted to cover other issues.

While the world football governing body released funds for women’s football, the game was literally dead and only resurrected when Mavis Gumbo came into office in 2010 as new chairperson.
Since then, the senior women’s national team, the “Mighty Warriors”, have won the Cosafa Senior Challenge, participated in the All-Africa Games and will face Nigeria in the first round of World Cup qualifiers.

Similarly, the Under-20 squad are in the last qualifier for a place in the World Cup, having beaten Mozambique 7-10 on aggregate.

The boys’ junior national sides — Under-17, U-20 and U-23, will finally get back into African youth competitions this year after being withdrawn by previous administration for lack of financial resources.

The construction of Zifa Village in Mt Hampden has seen remarkable progress since 2010 and was officially handed over to the national association by Mamelodi last month after almost a decade in the doldrums.