A clean-up needed at Zifa

WHEN Felton Kamambo was elected the new ZIFA president in December last year, there was an air of optimism that our football was going to take a fresh course, turning away from the controversies and the adverse dogfights that had characterised previous administrations.

Although he lacks the charm and the eloquence of a great leader, Kamambo was, in the eyes of many Zimbabweans, probably the best candidate available to replace maverick politician and businessman Philip Chiyangwa, whose tenure was largely filled with drama and skulduggery.

He possessed a traceable record in football. He played the game at Mhangura and had been in football administration for some years; including holding the post of regional chairman for the ZIFA Central Region before his ascension to the association’s top post.

But seven months down the line, it appears the more things change, the more they stay the same. The ZIFA board led by the business executive is under fire for the way they bungled the Warriors’ participation at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt and the general lack of good corporate governance.

Of course, there have been some positives during his early days, but from the look of things, Kamambo is slowly proving wrong many Zimbabweans who might have had confidence in him turning around the domestic football landscape.

This week, the Sports and Recreation Commission began an inquiry into ZIFA’s affairs, particularly the recent debacle at the AFCON tournament in Egypt and the handling of the association’s funds.

ZIFA were given until next Friday to respond to the Sports Commission’s request for details surrounding the AFCON trip and the handling of the football funds since they came into office.

Apparently the ZIFA board has failed the test on and off the pitch during the AFCON tournament. Despite being touted as one of the teams awash with brilliant talent, the Zimbabwe men’s football team returned home empty-handed. They only made the headlines in Egypt for the wrong reasons.

Lack of foresight and planning led to the never-ending strikes in camp because of unpaid fees and allowances. The players twice threatened to boycott games in a sad development that painted Africa’s premier football tournament in bad light.

In fact, to some of the organisers of the 2019 AFCON finals, the Warriors’ elimination from the tournament last Sunday, amid the chaos of the collapse at the June 30 Stadium against the DRC, represented good riddance.

Many insiders were reported to be painting a picture of growing disillusionment, among some of the organisers and CAF officials, about the volatility, and toxicity, of the situation that has been the story of the Warriors camp during their tour of duty in Egypt.

They have been briefing the media of growing tension, and disappointment, that the never-ending disputes over pay, which stalked the Warriors since the eve of their opening match against Egypt, have been casting the tournament in bad light because of the negative headlines around the globe.

ZIFA may claim that the players wanted to hold them at ransom by demanding huge fees, but if that was what was agreed upon, ZIFA should have been prepared to cough up! They should not have promised what they cannot afford to pay.

In fact, the Warriors delegation should never have left Harare without signing contracts which clearly stated what the players should get.

This is not the first time this has happened with the Warriors. ZIFA should not always have to wait for the last minute to discuss money issues when the players should be focusing on the battles ahead at such a big tournament as AFCON.

By now, they should be able to disclose to the nation the sources of the funds for the charter plane to ferry scores of supporters and officials to Egypt when they had not finished paying the players.

There are also allegations of corruption surrounding the charter flight as the association’s top leadership were accused of stuffing their families and “girlfriends” on the passenger list at the expense of deserving fans.

And there was also an extra baggage of a number of sports journalists on that charter flight to Egypt!

It is a welcome development that the Sports Commission has demanded answers on behalf of all the Zimbabweans. ZIFA have to answer for the funds they received from CAF and the fund-raising committee for this tournament and how it was used.

They need to be accountable for every cent they got from FIFA, CAF, the Government, individual sponsors and the corporate world since they came into office.

The ZIFA board has to come out clear on the allegations of financial skulduggery emanating from the allegations that grants from CAF/FIFA meant for the association were at some point diverted into an individual board member’s account in an effort to evade creditors, which is against the basic tenets of good corporate governance.

It’s sad, the same script that saw several individuals being booted out by the previous executive led by Chiyangwa in petty fights is playing again at the association.

It did not take a month to manifest when the association’s vice president Gift Banda was suspended in January on allegations of “usurping the powers” of the Executive Committee and the Technical Committee. Up to now his case is still to be finalised and more board members are reported to be on the firing line.

Many things are happening at ZIFA and it is time our football gets a cleansing. The Sports Commission must be commended for their quick reaction, seeking answers from the ZIFA board who they have accused of gross incompetence.

And Kamambo and his cronies at ZIFA must not escape with just a slight slap on the wrist for the way they’ve run the beautiful game of football in this country so far. The Sports Commission must come down hard on them and stop the rot forthwith!

Source :

Check Also

Mwonzora Hits Ground Running

Newly elected MDC-T President Douglas Mwonzora has taken control of the party and immediately hit …

This function has been disabled for Zimbabwe Today.