ZIFA has told parliamentarians that local football is suffering due to the harsh economic environment prevailing in the country and the mother body is struggling to pay back a $5 million debt it owes to various service providers.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The Zifa leadership, led by vice-president Ndumiso Gumede, said this while appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Culture on the state of football in Zimbabwe at the House of Assembly yesterday.
Gumede, who was standing in for national association president Cuthbert Dube, was accompanied by the association’s chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze and the Friends of Warriors who were represented by Simeon Jamanda.
Gumede’s sentiments came after former Dynamos secretary-general Ray Kazembe, who is the Member of Parliament for Mazowe West, asked Gumede what had gone wrong in local football and what the association was doing to develop football at grassroots level.
“Something has definitely gone wrong and in my humble view, and first, we must not ignore the economic factors. If people had money, they would be willing to give, but we need this august House to put in place ways of generating revenue.
“If, for instance, you charge every business in this country 1% towards a social responsibility fund which would go to sport, not football only, and then the Sports and Recreation Commission would then distribute according to importance, we would get somewhere. Rebates on tax for those companies that directly fund football would also go a long way in assisting.
“It’s a pity you mentioned us failing to take our Under-17s and Under-20s to tournaments. We have since suspended our participation in those tournaments until we put our house in order, but the long and short of it honourable members is that there’s no money. You can’t keep saying put your house in order because the cement with which to put that house in order is money and it must be provided from somewhere,” Gumede said.
Kazembe also asked the Zifa leadership how much the association owed to creditors when they took office and if they had made any progress in servicing the $5 million debt.
“We have to try to get out of a $5 million debt. On paper, it was $600 000, but no sooner did we take office, some companies came from nowhere in 2010 saying we had a debt dating from 2007 yet it was not on the initial list we were given.
“We are commercialising the Zifa Village. We are opening it up to other entities to use it and give us some money. We are now in direct competition with other companies in the hospitality sector,” the veteran administrator said.
Member of Parliament for Buhera West Oliver Mandipaka called on the Zifa leadership to present a paper to the committee on match-fixing so that they would see how they can enact a law on it.
“You talked about match-fixing and I noted that from the presentation there are gaps as far as laws to do with match-fixing are concerned. I suggest that you present a paper this committee so that in the near future so that we read through, and see where it is possible for us to move the motion in Parliament on the issue,” Mandipaka said.
Gumede later said they had been advised to contact their Australian counterparts, who have legislation that deals with match-fixing.
“We have been advised to contact Australia, who have already come up with legislation on match-fixing and it is my humble submission that it be conducted on a government-to-government level,” Gumede said.