Zim football at crossroads: Part 2

HARARE - THIS IS THE SECOND OF A TWO-PART SPeCIAL IN WHICH ZIFA PRESIDENT CUTHBERT DUBE TALKS ABOUT THE CONCLUSION OF THE ASIAGATE MATCH-FIXING PROBE, UNPRECEdeNTED LIFE AND LENGTHY BANS, AFRICAN NATIONS CUP QUALIFICATION FAILURE, DEEP BOARD DIVISIONS, CALLS FOR HIS RESIGNATION AND MORE:

ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube has admitted in an exclusive interview that board divisions have had a detrimental effect on the game in the country.

Dube’s administration has increasingly come under fire in recent times, with chorus for his board’s resignation growing following the national side’s failure to qualify for a second successive African Nations Cup under the Harare businessman’s stewardship.

In an apparent admission that his board was deeply divided on regional basis, Dube attributed the Warriors’ failure to qualify for the 2012 Afcon finals to the cracks which emerged in his board over the appointment of coaches during the qualification campaign, which bordered on tribal lines.  

“First of all, the last time we tried to qualify, that game with Cape Verde in the first leg,” said Dube.
 
“Honestly, we lost the game because of the board. We had two coaches (Norman Mapeza and Madinda Ndlovu).

That’s when we lost the plot. We could have gone with a united position. But the board was divided. In future we must decide on professional basis. We must get away from personalities, politics, and tribalism. These things must not come close to the sports and our board as Zifa.

“When we lost that game red lights started flashing. When we went to Cape Verde for the reverse fixture, it was no longer the issue of the board. The match was fixed.”

Asked how anyone could have possibly fixed that game, even when the Asiagate axes were hovering over some players, Dube said: “Well, the same thing can be asked. How could people fix the very last game against Angola (which the Warriors lost 2-0)? But still there was fixing. I’m told there were four players who got involved and contacted by Asian forces (in Angola).

“The Angola match was fixed because of the amount involved. It was nowhere compared to what we were going to give them. We promised them $5 000 if they qualified, and I promised $1 500 from my pocket. Government promised them 21 residential stands in a nice area. All that was nothing compared to what they got.”

Dube repeated his earlier comment threatening to disband the Warriors following the disappointment of failing to qualify for South Africa 2013.

“Now that Asiagate is almost complete, we will now concentrate on future national teams of Zimbabwe. I abide by majority decisions, but personally, I have had enough of this national team.

I think it was time we dissolve it and concentrate on the Under-23s and the Under-20s. The senior team has let us down. It’s not a wholesome change. There are good players there and who can progress.

We have to get some of them in the national team. But for the rest, we say no. I think their time is up.

“I always tell people that an entire Zambian team was wipped out and now they are champions. We still have hope if our future team is made up of people who are not tainted. It (Asiagate) was disgraceful to the country, enough is enough, we’ve learnt. I think we can still redeem ourselves. We have the players. It’s just an issue of shifting attention.”

Asked to name his failure and success, Dube remarked: “Our failure was lack of qualification for the 2012 and 2013 Afcon. Very disappointing. It’s a learning curve.”

In terms of success, we were the first to bring the Fifa president Joseph Sepp Blatter to Zimbabwe.

Look at the stature of the Fifa president, it’s close to a head of state. We managed to get funds for Zifa projects, which had stalled for 10 years. We started to see financial assistance come through. In our tenure, we completed the first phase of the Zifa Village.”

Calls for his ouster increased following failure to qualify for next year’s Afcon qualifiers, to which Dube retorted: “Not, I’m not listening to those voices.

It has no effect.We have done a good job. I was elected by Zifa councillors. It is those councillors who can remove me. But I can tell you, those councillors are very happy with us. Asiagate is complete.

Resign from what? For making success? During the remainder of our tenure, we are going to achieve more success. These are just voices of people who want power.

“I’m proud that I’ve done a national duty. I’m the only president from all 209 Fifa members who bails out the association. Fifa tells me. During my tenure, I managed to revive women’s football. Women’s football was dead.”

Questions have been raised over Dube’s continuous financing of Zifa from his personal coffers while sponsors keep shunning the game.

“We are going to get sponsors who will assist in this regard,” he responded. “All they have been saying is clean your house. We have come at the end of the cleaning exercise.

I will assure you they will come on board next year.”

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