ZIFA endured a long and bumpy road in 2014, characterised by the Warriors’ failure to qualify for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations finals that start on January 17, coach Ian Gorowa’s departure and the Mighty Warriors own shortcomings in the Africa Women’s Championships.
The year started with the Warriors-a band of local players, reaching the last four of the African Championships (Chan) in South Africa where they fell to eventual champions Libya.
This, according to Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze, was a sign of the quality of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.
“This was a sign of the quality of our league, although there need to be some improvements here and there as we go along,” he said in an interview yesterday as he took NewsDay Sport through the major highlights of 2014.
After a year that started with Cuthbert Dube winning a second term as association president in March, beating Leslie Gwindi and Trevor Carelse-Juul, the next port of call was supposed to be the Warriors’ progress in the Afcon qualifiers. But, alas, Tanzania put paid to those hopes at the first hurdle and Gorowa quit.
“It was failure and we need to improve in terms of preparations for any tournament or qualifier that we would be taking part in.”
Turning to the elections and other issues, he said: “We are one of the few associations that have a constitution that conforms to Fifa statutes and the elections that we had were run according to those statutes and were duly endorsed by Fifa, Caf, Cosafa and the Government.
“We then had an induction course conducted by Ashford Mamelodi (Fifa development officer) for three days that clearly spelt out the duties of the board, the secretariat and the various standing committees.
“Mamelodi was also here with another Fifa official from Zurich and they met the various people and organisations that we owe as we continue to work on our debt reduction (the debt stands at $6 million) and we believe that we as go into 2015, we will intensify efforts to clean the slate,” he said.
As they worked on that former chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya, former Warriors assistant manager Charles Dzvairo and ex-communications officer Nicky Dlamini-Moyo came up with their own list of demands and some even went to the courts to get reprieve.
The actions also came in the backdrop of Zifa failing to pay its employees for months due to financial constraints.
The Fifa congress took place in June and Dube was re-appointed to one of the standing committees and also sat on the organising committee of the Confederations Cup.
In July, an extra-ordinary meeting of the assembly took place where for the first time, audited accounts for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 financial years were presented and ratified by the assembly and the rules and regulations that govern football in Zimbabwe were also enacted.
The Zifa Village was completed in August under the Fifa Goal Project and the next target is a village for Bulawayo.
“The application for the Goal Project for the headquarters was also approved and what is now left is for the conclusion of the transaction for the purchase of the offices,” Mashingaidze said.
Zifa also put in place a strategic plan which looks at seven pillars: finance, administration, development, competitions, marketing and communication, institutional capacity and legal framework.
“This means the board, which meets only four times a year to review the performance of the secretariat, directs policy and the secretariat implements those seven pillars and we are judged as per each of those issues,” the chief executive said.
On the other side, Zimbabwe bid for the 2017 Afcon finals hosting and lost. “We would like to thank His Excellency President Mugabe for providing us with the necessary guarantees for this venture,” Mashingaidze said.
At the end of the year, Zifa had two boys and girls teams in the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region Five Games, which did marginally well despite their failure to capture gold.
“They acquitted themselves well considering that they (players) were coming from schools. The issue of age cheating was heavily dealt with so that we don’t invest in ghosts and going forward we would work with Nash and Naph to ensure that we have the proper players, well equipped and ready for the next games in Angola,” Mashingaidze said.
Mashingaidze had running clashes with board vice president Omega Sibanda and women football boss Mirriam Sibanda over various issues.
Zifa also plans to fully adopt the Club Licensing Regulations this season with a committee to be put in place later this month to ensure that clubs meet the basic requirements.
Lately, Club Licensing has been taken to target coaches only, leaving poor administrators and leadership wrangles, like at Chiredzi FC, to go unchecked.