Charlie Jones targets Zifa presidency

HARARE - Charlie Jones, the former Zimbabwe international, has confirmed his candidacy for the Zifa presidency election for the second time running.

With just under two months to go before the much-expected Zifa countrywide elections, 53-year-old Jones has launched a fresh onslaught for the biggest post in Zimbabwean sport, using his impeccable football credentials – which has seen him rise from a player, coach, administrator and television pundit – as his main armoury.

Jones lost to current Zifa president Cuthbert Dube in 2010, but the former CAPS United and Arcadia flying winger believes he can convince the electorate this time around that his rich background in the country’s number one sport is just what is needed to take Zimbabwean football to the next level.

“I bring to the table a lot of experience. I played it at junior level to senior level right up to national team level,” Jones told the Daily News this week.

“I have been fortunate enough to manage at the highest level. I managed CAPS United, which was actually the first team I played for at senior club level. I was also fortunate to have coached and got a team promoted from division one to the PSL, Air Zimbabwe Jets. And I chaired Arcadia United.

“If anyone can put anything on the table in terms of qualification, I want to see someone who can beat that. I grew up in football, it’s in my blood. I’ve been involved in it from the roots.”

While Jones’ objectives are not laid down in an official election manifesto, he believes those entrusted with putting the Zifa board into office already know their men.

“I am not a fan of this manifesto thing, people have been promised the world before, but nothing of substance has been done.

Born and raised in the Arcadia community of Harare, young Charles played the sport at an early age, representing Arcadia United at all age-group level before CAPS United gave him his first senior contract in 1980. He won eight Zimbabwe caps in the ‘80s in addition to playing for the first-ever assembled national Under-20 team, coached by Mick Poole.

Jones says his main objective is to transform the national team and other aspects of Zifa into professional units attractive to corporate sponsors.

With the Warriors, Jones says he will introduce a system common in some countries and perfected by rugby and cricket, where national team players are contracted to the association.

“There must be self-sustainable units within the Zifa policy. We must say the national team the national team is a professional unit, division one is a professional unit, and youths. These products are sleeping. These are the products you take to sponsors. When you create products, these are the packages you put.

“You contact national team players to the FA and that way you eliminate your daily costs. You contact a pool of 20 to 30 players with varying deals. Those with lower contacts stand a chance of getting better contracts, and its performance based.  You weigh the pros and cons. The Warriors must be marketable. I believe Zifa is not getting sponsorship for the team because the product is not well-packaged. Develop the product so that it can stand on its own and attract corporate sponsorship.

“There are no synergies between football and sponsors. If you don’t have a plan then you are dead.

“We need to create the right environment for players. The synergies have to be there between players, administration and the league. You can’t have a situation where players are not paid.

“You have to heel a lot of sores, create the right environment.”

Jones said under him, Zifa will seek multi-sponsorship for the various national representative teams.

“AON do not sponsor Manchester United. AON sponsor kit only. That’s part of sponsorship, but of course, you can’t brand a national team on the front part of the jersey, but you still need a kit sponsor. And then you have several players coming in.”

Under his leadership, clubs would also be encouraged to place official value on their players.

“It’s a question of ownership,” he said. “We don’t have ownership. Do the clubs own anything? What are the biggest assets for the club? It’s the players. If you take Tafadzwa Rusike and place value on him, it becomes ownership. Once you value him for say $100 000, you can use that as collateral.

“That value becomes an asset.  Take it to the bank and say can we have a loan of $500 000. The players are the products. The buy-out clause is the value of the player. That value becomes tangible to the bank. Once you value them you also create and environment for the player to feed off in terms of endorsements.

“Let’s take Dynamos for instance. If they had bought Rufaro Stadium as long time ago, they would have created confidence.”

The Zifa board elections will be held on March 26.

Comments (2)

i think its fruitful to try Charlie because he had seen it all.Taneta nevanotiuraira bhora. its high time to have somebody who does have soccer at heart and i dream Charlie will deliver us to the promised land

Nyasha - 12 January 2014

I think we are better off trying Jones because Dube has failed completely.

Nesongano - 14 January 2014

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.