Home » Sports » ’GVT Should Bail Out Zifa’

FIFA have made a passionate appeal to the government to help finds ways to finance domestic football’s national activities and assist troubled Zifa to develop the game. Ashford Mamelodi, Fifa development officer for Eastern and Southern Africa, pleaded for support from the government yesterday when he paid a courtesy call on Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora in the capital.

Mamelodi had initially been billed to meet with Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Andrew Langa who, however, was understood to be away in Bulawayo yesterday.

The Fifa official said it was imperative that he met with the government and briefed the minister on the outcome of the Zifa general assembly, which culminated in the staging of elections for the association’s president and board.

Mamelodi supervised the weekend exercise in which Dube swept back into office after defeating nearest rival Trevor Carelse-Juul 44-14 following a re-run.

The former Cosafa secretary-general, whose mandate is also to supervise the world body’s projects that are carried under the Fifa financial assistance programme, said the world body was ready to work hand in glove with the government to find strategies in which Zifa could be freed from their debt trap.

Mamelodi reckoned that there was “often a huge misconception among some people that Fifa do not work with governments in support for football.

“My visit to the Minister was really a courtesy call to express satisfaction with the way the Zifa General Assembly went and subsequently the elections.

“I had been hoping to see the responsible Minister for Sport (Langa) but we had his permanent secretary there and I am sure both Minister Dokora and he will pass on the message to him.

“We are extremely satisfied with elections and how they were conducted. We are positive that government will support football and we have also appealed to the Minister to fast track the availability of the land that Zifa need to build a new headquarters for football.

“The money is there but we are worried that if they do not take it up it will end up being transferred to another country and that would be sad,” Mamelodi said.

Fifa have availed US$500 000 to Zifa to build a new home for football that would now house the association’s headquarters.

Mamelodi said Fifa were now planning to hold an induction course for the new Zifa board for which there are four new members who had never previously sat on any of the national game’s management.

Bulawayo businessman Omega Sibanda, who was elected vice-president, Chicken Inn official and lawyer Tawengwa Hara, Zimbabwe Women Football boss and Harare businesswoman Miriam Sibanda and another businessman and former Douglas Warriors director Bernard Gwarada are the four debutants on the Zifa board.

They will join the quartet of returnees — Premier Soccer League chairman Twine Phiri, Warriors’ legend John Phiri, ex- Eastern Region chairman Fungai Chihuri and Dube in a set-up in which the composition of the board has been reduced to eight from the 13 who served on the previous leadership.

Although there is some goodwill between Fifa and Zifa, Mamelodi ruled out a financial rescue package to clear their crippling debt.

Instead Fifa would help devise some strategies through which Zifa can overcome their debt.

“With a good marketing department Zifa should be able to generate some funds. The situation (of debt) was there in 2010 and obviously the debt has grown as the auditors explained at the general assembly but I cannot sit here and say Fifa will fund the debt but Zifa needs to be assisted,” Mamelodi said.

In his response Dokora expressed government’s gratitude for the support that Fifa continued to offer to Zimbabwe though funding, material and technical assistance given to Zifa.

Dokora said they had also been gratified by the fact that Fifa had sent a representative to supervise the Zifa assembly and the staging of the elections.

“We are grateful that Fifa came as a witness of this credible process. The US$500 000 that Fifa want to give Zifa to build its own headquarters is an expression of confidence with Zifa.

“The last time when Fifa president Sepp Blatter was here I was minister for both education and sport and I had the privilege to interact with him.

“He promised us courses and indeed these courses came. The issue of the land is government priority and we will look for assistance from the relevant ministry and I will personally speak to Minister Chombo about it,” Dokora said.

Dokora also implored Zifa to focus more on and implement substantive grassroots programmes which he acknowledged were key to the development of the game. Apart from supervising the elections Mamelodi also used the opportunity of his latest visit to hare to assess the progress being made at the Zifa Village where the association has managed to complete Goal Projects Two and Three and qualified for more funding Goal Project Four.

Source : The Herald