ZIFA is finally expected to appear before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sports, Arts and Culture on Thursday to tell the august House the problems bedevilling football, the nation’s number one sport.
This visit has long been coming — numerous times Zifa has not been able to appear in Parliament — but this time around, they have made a commitment that they will definitely be there.
The visit comes at the conclusion of the second round of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) matches over the weekend which saw Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi and Lesotho making it through to the group stages of the qualifiers.
South Africa, Zambia and Angola are through after receiving byes and sadly, the Warriors are not part of this of group of seven from the Cosafa region.
And, even more painfully for Zimbabwe, Tanzania, who knocked us out of the competition, are also out having been stung by Mozambique. We should have been out there competing with the best in Africa.
And to money matters, the South Africa Football Association (Safa) yesterday confirmed a R1 billion TV deal with new broadcaster Siyaya TV to show all national team games live and will be paid R175 million per year during the six-year contract with Siyaya TV.
These are the financial issues that the committee and critics should be looking at, not ZBC seeking to be paid to broadcast national team games. But because the brand is going down, we are not worth even a dime.
The national association has been demonised left, right and centre and the attacks have been personalised on Cuthbert Dube, especially by those who were caught on the wrong side of the match-fixing scandal.
The rot at the national association is not new. It has been in the making for a long time, dating back to the early 2000s and was only masked by the Warriors’ qualification to the 2004 and 2006 Afcon finals.
We built no base to feed the national team. We had fake Under-17, 20 and 23 players who aged quicker than ice dissolving in boiling water. There has been no government support for the sport; schools competitions are a haven for age cheats and corrupt administrators have found their way into the game.
Those that criticise have offered no solutions — they just want Dube gone, as if his predecessors did a better job. Even if he goes today, the $6 million debt will not miraculously be wiped out. Some see their ascendancy into the Zifa Board as a way of making money. This is a joke; there is no money at Zifa. It’s just a national service.
This is Dube’s chance to tell the nation what has gone wrong in the game and get the Parliamentarians to understand the financial problems the game faces.
We are happy that this committee has the likes of Temba Mliswa, Tapiwa Matangaidze and Chris Chitindi, who are football administrators in their own right. We hope they will understand the need to recapitalise Zifa and give it a fresh start.
There is no iota of doubt that Zifa is broke, yet some board members want to be paid allowances and sleep in fancy hotels when they come for board meetings in Harare.