THE Premier Soccer League (PSL) has released $65 000 to the financially-troubled Zifa which is expected to be directed towards payment of an
$81 000 debt owed to former Warriors coach Jose Claudinei Georgini — popularly known as Valinhos — and possibly help rescue Zimbabwe’s 2018 World Cup campaign.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Zimbabwe have been expelled from the 2018 global showcase qualifiers because of their debt to Valinhos and will only be reinstated after settling the sum.
While the PSL made the payment last week, it has been confirmed that nothing has yet been channelled towards settling the debt that is threatening participation in the World Cup qualifiers.
Initially the debt owed to the coach stood at $67 000, but has swelled to $81 000 due to legal costs.
The PSL had outstanding levy and player registration and licencing fees from last year and the top-flight league management realising the plight of Zifa paid up last week – boosting the coffers of the association battling to raise money to pay the former Warriors coach.
PSL chief executive Kenny Ndebele confirmed payment of the $65 000 to the the mother body.
“We have realised the problem Zifa were facing and we have paid the money which is for the outstanding levy from last year as well as player registration and licencing,” Ndebele said.
“We hope it is going to help solve their problem. We are supporting them in their efforts to solve the problems they are facing.”
Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela could not comment on the money they got from the PSL, but stressed that they would raise the funds needed to pay the coach in due course.
“It’s work in progress. We are working to ensure that the money owed to the coach is paid in due course for Zimbabwe to be reinstated into the 2018 World Cup campaign,” Gwesela said.
Zimbabwe were expelled from the 2018 World Cup by Fifa two weeks ago for failure to pay Valinhos $67 000 in salary arrears.
The Brazilian was appointed coach of the Warriors in 2008, but was sacked just 11 months into his job following a spate of dreadful results.
Zifa failed to pay the coach for services rendered culminating in him taking the matter to world soccer governing body Fifa.
Zifa, in a bid to save the country from embarrassment, have already written to lawyers representing Valinhos seeking a possible reinstatement ahead of the draw for the 2018 World Cup.
This was after Fifa stressed that the suspension was not subject to appeal, but that a review would be made only if the association reached a settlement with the creditor.
Sport, Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa met the Zifa board recently where a pledge was made to mobilise funds to pay off the debt and have Zimbabwe reinstated into the world football family.
Still Zifa’s decision to engage Tom Saintfiet from Namibia has also backfired with the Belgian instituting legal action seeking a $150 000 payment despite having conducted just one training session with the Warriors before his deportation by the immigration authorities for working without a permit.