Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
ACTING ZIFA vice president Philemon Machana says the association could have lost thousands of dollars to scammers in the final AFCON qualifier against Congo last month.
The association reported a deficit $105 475,49 despite grossing close to half a million in revenue from the match.
They said 38 787 people were in the arena that is capable of hosting 65 000.
Machana said the review committee was unanimous that the numbers in the records, and what obtained on the ground did not tally.
ZIFA had announced that tickets were to be sold online, but they abandoned the system on the match day following a low uptake.
As a result, the move created opportunity for corruption, with over 1 000 people being turned away at the gates after they were caught with fake tickets.
“Obviously, where corruption takes place, we stand fleeced.
“As a committee, we really felt that the 38 000 was not exactly the number of people that got in.
“That is why I gave the example of those 1 000 that were turned away; where did they go? I believe they eventually got into the stadium, by hook or crook,’’ said Machana.
“And, if you say they were holding $10 tickets, it then means $10 000 gone. So, we can’t rule out that we were fleeced,” said Machana.
ZIFA have come up with a cocktail of measure to guard against the losses in the future.
Machana said some of the corrupt activities were perpetrated by stewards who were employed to bring order at the gates.
As a result, ZIFA have banned bouncers at the national team games in the future.
“One biggest grey area we have picked is the use of bouncers as stewards.
“While these can be used elsewhere, like at entertainment joints and small matches that attract fewer crowds, as ZIFA we have said going forward we are not going to use bouncers.
“We have come to realise that it is not about the muscle that you have, but the office that you are holding and the authority that is granted to you that can actually give you the power to make certain calls and certain decisions.
“In fact, we picked up that a lot of corruption was happening through those kind of people and we had an incident when we caught one who had a booklet where people were coming in, take the ticket and he doesn’t tear them and will give to other people outside.
“So, the same ticket ended up bringing in maybe five people.’’
Machana said the delay in announcing the figures was due to the hiccups encountered with the electronic ticketing system, especially on match day.
The response showed that the local supporters had not fully embraced the new electronic ticketing system after 8 439 tickets were sold online against 28 694 physical tickets.