Home » Sports » Minister Blasts Zifa, Rushwaya Says Ready to Help

SPORTS minister Andrew Langa has blamed the Zifa Assembly for the maladministration of the game which led to Zimbabwe’s expulsion from the 2018 Fifa World Cup preliminary qualification rounds.

Fifa expelled Zimbabwe on Thursday after Zifa failed to settle a $60,000 debt owed to former coach Jose Claudinei Georgini (Valinhos), who was the Warriors’ mentor for 11 months from January 2008 to November of the same year.

Valinhos was paid six months of his salary by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, but the balance from Zifa did not materialise, resulting in the coach approaching Fifa for a remedy.

In 2009, then Zifa chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya told the Sunday Mail that Fifa had deducted $60 000 from the annual grants to cover Valinhos’ debt.

Mathematically, this means Valinhos was due to earn a whopping $180 000 per year from his three contract, since ZTA paid $60 000, Fifa another $60 000 and still a debt of $60 000 remained outstanding.

Rushwaya claimed in an interview with the state media that she could offer clarification on the issue if asked.

Prepared to helo Zifa with world cup ban if asked … Henrietta Rushwaya (centre)

“Under normal circumstances I would have refused to comment because I was banned from football activities,” she told a State-run daily.

“Anyway, as a patriotic Zimbabwean I think it is not right that the nation suffers because of our personal differences.

“This is a case that I handled and I am very willing to assist ZIFA if engaged. I think I have information that can help them out on this issue.

“I know the Valinhos case like the back of my hand. But just like I said from day one that I am available to assist on all issues … I am available if the people at ZIFA need my input, I will gladly give them all the information that they need.

“But like I said, I cannot just barge into their offices. I am available if they want me I feel this is a matter of national interest and we should not allow personal egos or fights to cloud this issue.”

However, in a statement on Friday, minister Langa said it was time for the Zifa assembly to act.

Below is his statement in full …

“The Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture learnt with great disappointment of the expulsion of the country, represented by ZIFA, from participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. That this came as a result of an apparent bungling by ZIFA makes it more intolerable and repugnant.

“Neither the Sports and Recreation Commission nor the Ministry were made aware of the disciplinary action taken against ZIFA, the result of which was the imposition of a fine and the granting of the grace period to pay the creditor (Mr Jose Claudinei Georgini) his dues.

“ZIFA must accept that it has failed the nation in this regard. The nation continues to endure the effects of administrative inefficiencies without any resolute action being taken to correct the situation. While all criticism has mainly been targeted at the ZIFA Board, my Ministry notes that control of the Board vests in the ZIFA Assembly. The latter, therefore, are equally if not more culpable for the goings-on in ZIFA.

“The ZIFA Assembly are the ones who voted the ZIFA Board into office and it is them who can exercise the prerogative to withdraw their mandate, or to take any other concrete action that demonstrates their resolve to ensure that there is professionalism in the administration of our football.

“My Ministry would like to reiterate its position that removal of persons from office must, as a general rule, be done in terms of the statutes that govern those institutions. My Ministry would like to challenge the ZIFA Assembly to reflect on the perennial flaws that characterize their administration of football in the country, as well as on the mood of the nation with regard to the direction they are taking football and take bold and urgent steps to correct the issues.

“At the same time, my Ministry would like to state in no uncertain terms, that it appreciates the anxiety caused by this latest gaffe. However, we believe that any intervention should not be done on impulse, but after taking stock of the costs and benefits of engaging in such intervention.

“On its part, my Ministry has extended an invitation to FIFA to visit Zimbabwe with a view to ensuring that our mutual interests are protected. We are aware that FIFA has nothing to benefit from a situation where the game is brought into disrepute, or where there is stunted growth or even retrogression in the development of the sport. It is our hope, therefore, that FIFA will come forward to work with us on long-term solutions to the challenges we are facing.

“My Ministry has also set up a Commission of Enquiry into the state of Football in Zimbabwe and this Commission is due to commence from the beginning of April and will run for two months.

“Specific to the latest decision by FIFA, my Ministry notes that, if the suspension is going to hold, it would be a suspension from participating in a particular tournament rather than a blanket suspension from all football activities.

“It means that the Warriors can still participate in other tournaments such as the AFCON, CHAN and COSAFA while all our junior and women’s teams would still be eligible to participate in, among others, all FIFA, CAF and COSAFA tournaments. Also, FIFA’s decision does not affect our capacity to (facilitate) transfers for players who might get opportunities to ply their trade outside Zimbabwe.

“My Ministry has instructed the SRC to direct ZIFA to submit a report on the matter in question. We would like to know how we came to the current situation and what action ZIFA has taken or intends to take to salvage the situation. We are also exploring the possibility of having the suspension reversed. It is also our hope that should the FIFA visit materialize, it would be another opportunity to influence decisions in Zimbabwe’s favour.

“Finally, my Ministry would like to assure the general soccer loving public and the entire nation at large, that we will do our best to ensure that the situation in our football is brought to normalcy. It may not happen overnight but it will certainly happen. As Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, I have summoned ZIFA and SRC to a meeting next week to deliberate on these and other issues in an effort to try and resolve these burning issues concerning our beautiful game of football.”

Source : New Zimbabwe