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ZIFA Must Clean Up Its Mess to Avoid Further Embarrassment

Every time our national soccer team prepares for an international competition, it has become an ill-habit for the association to spend much of their time trying to put out fires and navigating red tape of some untimed disaster, instead of having things planned and putting more effort in steering the organisation forward.

By Alex Munyaradzi Majoka 

Football administration in Zimbabwe has portrayed a circus of bad planning, mismanagement and lack of passion and foresight to improve the standards of football in the country, considering the manner it has administered football in recent years.

The association has been grappling with problems ranging from financial difficulties, barbarous travelling arrangements, maladministration to lack of accountability and transparency in handling money for the organisation and needs to immediately address the situation before it goes haywire .

The recent raw between the football association and Zimbabwe warriors players over unpaid allowances that took place on the night of Friday 6th January 2016, has exposed the association’s incompetence, untrustworthiness and lack of passion for the sport.

Without condoning the players’ lack of discipline, it must be noted first, that the embarrassing ‘boycott diner’ on the night of the Warriors’ supposed departure to Cameroon enroute to Gabon, would have been averted if the organisation had been in control of its house in the first place.

But the association’s notorious behavior in bad planning and ambiguous management of funds have contributed to the current impasse between the players and the national football body.

The players demanded their $5000 appearance bonuses plus $400 daily allowances before they leave for Gabon, which was quite reasonable considering that the association still owe players with allowances from previous duties.

Prior to the Afcon preparations, the football association received nearly $250 000 from CAF to help in preparations and a subsequent $250 000 donation from corporate sponsor NetOne.

Although the money was said not to be readily available for the players before they left for Gabon, the main reason that caused the stand-off between Zifa and players emanated from the deterioration of an honest relationship from the association.

Before the latest fracas, in June 2016 the Warriors had to travel almost 600km to Blantyre by road to play an important AFCON qualifier match against Malawi after the football body failed to acquire airfare for the team.

Just a few months ago the association was again caught procrastinating as they had to make last minute preparations for the Mighty Warriors team to travel to Cameroon for the Africa Women Cup of Nations tournament (AWCON) 2016 from November 16 – December 3rd 2016.

Zifa chairperson and newly elected COSAFA president, Philip Chiyangwa who have a known political background, still have a lot to prove to convince the football loving nation that, politicians can be good football administrators too.

It has become a common trend that those harbouring political ambitions have often used soccer as a springboard to blossom their political careers.

Although we cannot take away the effort and ambition ‘Blah Fidza’ has shown to improve the state of football in Zimbabwe, he is still a long way to bring sanity within the football federation.

Zifa is comprised of novices and people who do not have passion for soccer. The whole administration seem to be in deep slumber, only awaken when disaster strikes.

The association needs to step up their game, if they have any hope of regaining lost faith from the players and football fans and rebuild the damaged image of our football as a nation, rather than embroiled in blaming and name-calling game.

Tongai Mwenje

Tongai Mwenje is a Senior Editor with Zimbabwe's largest online sports magazine Sportbrief www.sportbrief.co.zw. He has been writing professionally since 2012 and currently writes for technology and sport blogs. He has vast experience in digital marketing, sports reporting and analysis. He is also a Sports and Technology columnist with Financial Gazette Online Sports Column and Technology Magazine respectively.

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