ELSEWHERE in the Press this week, Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) vice-president Ndumiso Gumede confirmed that the Federation of International Football Associations (Fifa) were getting fed up with Zifa and the world football governing body could soon terminate financial assistance to the association and let it collapse.
SIMBA RUSHWAYA GROUP SPORTS EDITOR
Gumede revealed that Fifa have already garnished $75 000 from Zifa’s 2013 $250 000 grant “after the association inexplicably failed to respond to a critical financial questionnaire sent to them by Fifa”.
Consequently, the senior national soccer team and other teams’ participation in important competitions including the World Cup hangs in the balance unless “government chips in”, according to the veteran administrator.
The Warriors, undoubtedly the country’s flagship team, are still participating in the 2014 World Cup set for Brazil after a pathetic start in which they lost 1-0 to Guinea at home and drew 0-0 away to Mozambique earlier in the year. Crucially, the Warriors have to fulfill the away fixtures against the Pharaohs of Egypt and Guinea.
There is nothing to write home about the Under-17 and Under-20 teams now facing at most three-year sanctions from the Confederation of African Football (Caf) after failing to travel to Congo-Brazaville and Angola for their respective African Youth Championships assignments.
The only silver lining in the dark cloud are the women’s teams who are well- oiled with sound sponsorship and management. The women’s teams have managed to fulfill all their fixtures, thanks to good planning.
While Zifa affiliates like the Premier Soccer League and women’s football are awash with sponsors, ironically, the mother body is struggling to find one. The problem with the current administration is that it passes on the buck when it fails and claims glory when there is success.
For example, when the Warriors were on the verge of qualifying for the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa after beating Angola 3-1 in the first leg of the final qualifier, there were boisterous voices emanating from Zifa which were only doused after Angola beat us 2-0 in Luanda to shatter hopes of Warriors’ appearance at the continental extravaganza.
Crucially, the current Zifa secretariat is not up to scratch. How can someone explain why the association “inexplicably failed to respond to a financial questionnaire”.
Of all the things, how can a whole association fail to respond to a QUESTIONARRE? There were no mental gymnastics involved here except answering basic questions.
Then comes the issue of expecting the government to chip in. While the government should play its role in the welfare of Zifa, the football governing body must take into consideration that government is seized with various more pressing issues like education, high unemployment rate, improving its citizens’ standards of living, etc. The government cannot concentrate on a small organisation like Zifa, while ignoring very important aspects like service delivery.
That is why Zifa should, with immediate effect, employ competent people who can mobilise sponsorship for the association and make itself-reliant just like many other football associations across the globe, people who can turn around the association from its quagmire.
They should stop being cry babies and put their house in order to attract meaningful sponsorship, just like what their affiliates are doing. We have never heard the PSL blaming the government for lack of sponsorship! In short, Zifa must sort out their mess than blame the government for its inadequacies.