ZIMBABWEAN football legend George Shaya has been appointed one of the trustees of the Football Trust launched by the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) yesterday.
The former Dynamos striker — who won the Soccer Star of the Year award a record five times during his heydays — is the only former football player in the Trust which predominantly features captains of industry.
He also served in the previous Warriors Trust which, however, died a natural death despite having done well following its launch with the Warriors earning their maiden Africa Cup of Nations appearance in Tunisia in 2004.
Zifa president Cuthbert Dube, who unveiled the Football Trust, said they were happy to have Shaya as one of the trustees as his experience with the previous Warriors Trust would inspire them.
Other members of the Trust include Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, who is chairman of Marange Resources, Marah Hativagone, the managing director of Codchem (Pvt) Ltd, Barbra Chikosi (founder and managing director of Red Rose Hair and Beauty Salon), Bernard Gwarada (Led Travel and Tours managing director) and businessman Innocent Mavhunga.
Managing director of Conduit Investments Phillemon Machana, Mbada Diamonds chief executive officer Patience Khumalo, Nyaradzo Funeral Assurance managing director Webster Chikengezha and businessman Solomon Cheure complete the cast of the committee members.
Zifa is battling a crippling $4 million debt and the launch of the Football Trust is expected to help wipe off the debt as well as assist the association in football development programmes and raising funds for all national team age groups. The Warriors are set to travel to Egypt for a World Cup qualifier next month and the Football Trust is expected to raise funds for the trip. The Trust is also expected to help revive the Zifa Cup which used to be the premier knockout trophy in the country.
“Zimbabwean football has over the years been left at the mercy of alms givers. Our game depended on crumbs from the table as the family of football failed to attach a value tag to the most beautiful game,” said Cuthbert Dube.
“Our game’s history is replete with failed attempts at creating self-sustaining structures for football and let me hasten to say that the failures of yesteryear should spur us to establish a Trust that shall stand in the way of all forms of vagaries that may militate against the existence of a truly Football Trust. Zifa is poised to have a great leap into the grand stage given that the operating environment has significantly changed following a number of efforts by the association to tame our immediate environments. The dark clouds that had enveloped our game in the form of mismanagement, the Asiagate scandal, corruption and unprofessional conduct have since started to drift away allowing our game to attract fans and corporate partners.
“Zifa is ready to do business with various partners and the arrival of the Zimbabwe Football Trust shall open new frontiers for the game’s future. The Trust will be able to do business with all those who want to work with football.”
In their acceptance speech, one of the trustees, Hativagone, said they were happy to come into football.
“We are glad because in soccer there is women football. It’s not just that there is women football, but also because soccer is a big game and we grew up supporting soccer and we also have children playing soccer. Soccer is part of the economy and if in other countries it can contribute to the development of the economy, why can’t we do it for our country? We are there to assist Zimbabwean football,” she said.
Apart from servicing the US$4m debt, the Football Trust shall assist to boost the association in terms of human, material and financial resources.
It is also tasked to help the association court and retain corporate sponsors, among other responsibilities.