Zim success raises Fifa’s interest
FIFA representative Ashford Mamelodi said Zimbabwe has crept onto the Fifa radar following the recent exploits of the Warriors and Mighty Warriors and the new global football leadership could help Zifa maintain the momentum.
Zifa are being weighed down by a crippling debt of about $6 million which has derailed football development in the country.
Mamelodi is here on a fact-finding mission and yesterday met with various stakeholders who made their submissions painting a gloomy picture on the state of football in the country.
T h e stakeholders appealed to the Fifa point person to rescue them with creditors crying foul that they have found n o joy from Zifa’s leadership while former administrators said Zifa’s legacy should be protected. After hearing submissions on his first day of meeting the stakeholders such as former Zifa administrators who were represented by Francis Zimunya, Ndumiso Gumede and Eusebio Maseko, former Zifa employees and creditors such as CBZ Bank, Air Zimbabwe, Holiday Inn, Daisy Lodge, Traverze Travel Agent, Ijarna Tours among others, Mamelodi said he was not empowered to make any pronouncements. But he said he was the world governing body will revisit Zimbabwe's case after reading his report. “The passion that comes through is very touching, people who love the sport so much, who are willing to give free time and spend their money, it is ready admirable,” s a i d Mamelodi. “Unfortunately, I can’t promise you anything. We have a very big institution at Fifa, the only good thing is that it is under a new management and being a new management they probably want to try and do things better than it was done before.
“And Zimbabwe is on the radar, make no mistake, a team that qualified at the rate at which you guys qualified, somebody has to sit up and say what’s going on here, how come you seem to be doing so well on paper in terms of qualification and yet we are told of a crisis?
“Fifa wants good case examples and Zifa must be transformed into a perfect case example for the rest of the continent to learn from, why not?
“And I think we have a very strong opportunity in this country so we will do everything we can, we are not going to let you (down).”
Various presenters bemoaned the collapsing of football structures, serious disregard of the constitution by the mother body when they prematurely dissolved Zifa and formed Nafaz before reverting to Zifa, complaints from former Zifa employees who were unfairly dismissed and not given their benefits as well as complaints from service providers who are owed a lot of money.
“We will take whatever information is availed to us and we will share it with Fifa. They will come back one way or the other, they will come back,” said Mamelodi.
“Believe you me seating here and listening is very important to the submissions that have been made. People, speaking from the heart and showing a great deal of passion. “I have always said this country amazes me. “I mean even as we sit here in a crisis, perceived or otherwise, you still qualify for Afcon, you still qualify for women Afcon, the ladies have just come back from Brazil, and you are six million in the red.
“This country is amazing assuming you didn’t have the problems that you have, I think you would have been to the World Cup and challenging.
“I want to really thank you sincerely. It is a pity, I don’t have a decision to make, surely if I did, I would have made one now.
“I am not at the level to make decisions but what I can assure you is that by whatever means, I think things have to improve.
“I can’t say whether by toppling the new organisation or what but all I can say is that things must improve.
“Everyone who spoke, spoke from the heart, I mean the disadvantaged staff, they spoke from the heart not only worried about the money but worried about the state of football like Ma (Harriet) Samkange who said she was proud of working for Zifa, she felt she made her contributions.
“I would be interacting again with Zifa board after getting the input of everybody.”