ZIFA chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze says they will bid for football tournaments in the future despite failing to land the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) 2017 finals as this is the only way that infrastructural development can be realised.
In a statement yesterday through the association’s website, Mashingaidze said: “As a member association of the Confederations of African Football (Caf), Zifa had every right to respond to Caf’s call for bid document presentations.
“Zifa, together with other interested nations responded to Caf’s call for bid presentations for the hosting of the 2017 Afcon edition following Libya’s withdrawal due to political and civil unrest.
“This was not the first time for Zimbabwe to bid for the right to host a mega event since the country has in the past hosted editions of Cecafa in 1985, Cosafa in 2009 and 2011 and the 1995 All Africa games with unquestionable distinction.”
He added: “It is also imperative for the nation to remember that the bidding process helps the nation to activate infrastructural development.
“Prophets of doom and pessimists who never believed in the project rubbished the combined efforts of all stakeholders behind the bid, but they ignored the fact that football has the potential to bring the nation together towards national development hence repositioning Zimbabwe through football.
This nation is not for the faint-hearted; therefore it only takes patriots to drive such strategic initiatives in the face of vehement criticism and negativity.
“Before crucifying Zifa, it is also important for the nation to remember that Zimbabwe once won the right to host Afcon in 2000 even though the grant was relinquished at the last minute.
“We should have unity purpose as a nation and desist from finger-pointing, name-calling and branding Zifa as ‘embarrassing the nation’.
“We are fully conscious of the benefits that are realised in the aftermath of hosting such events, hence we are already engaging Caf and Fifa on how to approach the bidding processes in future events.
“Zifa intends to bring the biennial continental showpiece to Zimbabwe since football is the most supported sport in the country and bidding for regional continental and global events is part of our strategic plan under the key result area of competitions.
“We extend our gratitude to the head of state, His Excellency, President Robert Gabriel Mugabe for the government guarantee, the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture, the Sports and Recreation Commission, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, local authorities and the corporate world for guidance and support proffered towards the bidding process for Zimbabwe to host the 2017 Afcon.”