THE Fifa World Cup final has come and gone, and for countries like Zimbabwe that have successively failed to make a berth at the football extravaganza it is time to put their houses in order in time for Russia 2018.
If not then, Qatar will be the place to be for Zimbabwe in 2022 – only if the football administrators have learnt anything useful from South Africa 2010 and the just-ended Brazil football showcase.
Zifa president Cuthbert Dube was in Brazil for the 2014 final. It is hoped that he could have met with the top brass at Fifa and that the meetings could bring some financial aid to local football.
Fifa has already committed $500 000 to the new Zifa headquarters in Harare, the next phase of the Goal Project and the $500 000 bonus from World Cup proceeds for each of the 209-member associations will further assist going forward.
Although Dube’s trip was fully funded by Fifa, it is important that the Zifa administration learn a thing or two on how to administer the game of football so that national teams bring results and pride to the soccer-starved nation.
Only 32 countries qualified for the 2014 finals and questions on whether Zifa administrators were supposed to attend the final at the Maracana on Sunday or not are neither here nor there.
Otherwise where were all these people when football was almost decimated by match-fixing?
Where were all these people when the Zifa Village went for over two decades without anything on the ground?
Where were all these people when Football Assistance Programme funds were being diverted from developing the game’s structures to fund national teams?
It is important that Zifa moves with speed to develop the game of football and prepare for future tournaments.
Football lovers would always look up to Zifa to take the lead and constructively criticise them to improve.
One wonders whether the government should follow the
Nigerian route and suspend Zifa with dire consequences from Fifa of course. It does not matter as we will not be playing international football for the next two years.
There is no iota of doubt that Zifa has failed, not only now, but also in the past. And the very fact that Zimbabwe failed to make the 2010, 2012 and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals, not to talk about the World Cup, is a serious indictment of the current Zifa board.
Sadly, those that claim to advise Zifa are clearly flying below the radar. Football development structures are not overnight issues, they take ages and if one has been following the progress of Belgium in the last decade, they will know this.
Each province needs a coach who is based there to hunt for talent at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. From there, the 10 provinces will clash in a national selection process that will give birth to the Under-17, 20 and 23 squads — the same route that Danny Jordaan in South Africa has taken because he has realised that the starting point is talent identification.
These three squads are the feeder squads to the senior national team and there is no shortcut to it.
Unfortunately, for some reasons, some Zimbabweans have ceased to look at the matter holistically.