'Dube sacking imminent'

HARARE - It is now just a question of when rather than if Zifa president Cuthbert Dube is booted out of office, Deputy Sports Minister Tabeth Kanengoni-Malinga told reporters yesterday.

Kanengoni-Malinga, who has in recent days abandoned Government’s quiet diplomacy over the embattled football governing body, followed up her similar remarks in Parliament on Wednesday with another chilling warning to Dube yesterday.

And the Daily News understands that Government could dissolve the entire Zifa board as early as the next seven days after the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture receive a report on the state of the game from the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC).

The report, sources say, painted a gloomy picture of the game and laid blame at the door of Dube’s administration.

Tomorrow the Sports Commission will meet the Zifa board in Harare and the Daily News is reliably informed that this is all part of groundwork being laid down for the eventual dismissal of a football leadership that has lost support across the entire political divide.

Parliamentarians drawn from the country’s political parties cheered loudly on Wednesday when Kanengoni-Malinga revealed that the Government was on the verge of dissolving the Zifa board.

The youthful deputy minister said the country had reached a point where it was prepared to bear the brunt of possible Fifa sanctions in an effort to save the game.

And yesterday she told reporters on the sidelines of a karate press conference that the removal of Dube from office was something that could happen within the next week because “the Zifa president has become the biggest impediment for local football to move forward”.

“I am waiting for the Minister to come back which will be maybe in the next week or so that he can help me to chart the way forward, but this is an issue which needs to be taken care of as soon as yesterday,” she said.

“It’s an urgent mode, something definitely has to be done soon and we stand to be advised according to regulations as to how we will tackle this issue.

“We have to work on it; we have to make sure that whatever we do is procedural. If we do something in a haphazard way we don’t get the intended results.

“All we actually want is to fix things; not just in Zifa but football in general and in all other (sporting) disciplines. The problem that we are having in Zifa is a management issue.

“I saw the response Cuthbert Dube gave to what we are saying but it’s not about how much money you have. They get money from Fifa; Cuthbert has been in this position for many years but you don’t see positive results in terms of the management side of football.

“I speak to some board members that are in Zifa; I won’t mention names, they might not be comfortable with it but there are so many complains about it being the Cuthbert and (Jonathan) Mashingaidze show. Women’s football is suffering. I spoke to Mr Dube sometime back when we had our indaba at the Zifa Village last year.

“And I spoke to him at length about supporting the Mighty Warriors and not side-lining them and making sure that they continue to do well because they have been doing better than the boys, and he promised me he was going to do something. Nothing has been done.

“Instead, last year the girls even failed to play their Unity Day match, which they do annually, they were actually focusing on another game which was supposed to happen in South Africa for the boys. I thought that was totally out of order; their priorities are definitely not in the right place.

“He might say whatever he wants to say about Government, but the Government is not the one that told him not to morally support the team. He has not gone to watch the teams play, even if you don’t have a single cent it costs nothing to go and give moral support to the team by just being there as the president of Zifa, which he has not been able to do.

“There is so much dirt at Zifa; people call us asking to help them recover their monies. So that has nothing with what Government has done; it’s everything to do with terrible management style at Zifa, as Government we cannot continue to smile and look at it.”

Kanengoni-Malinga, who works under minister Andrew Langa, repeated her earlier remarks that a Fifa ban in the event of Government interference was not a cause for concern.

“We are going to look at everything that needs to be done, and like I said, if Fifa is going to ban us that’s fine. We are okay with that because what we want is to go to the drawing board, build up our team, we want to qualify for all the tournaments that we need to qualify,” she said.

“We want to go back to the Zimbabwe, the Warriors that we know, we want to go back to those old good days and it’s a worst of money to continue doing what we are doing now with no results. But it’s better to actually put resources into rebuilding a proper football association and a proper team.”

Kanengoni-Malinga said the presence of Dube at the association have seen potential sponsors shy away from the sport.

“In terms of corporate funding; we have been trying to get the corporate world to come on board to fund football and all that stuff but the fact that Cuthbert Dube is there they want nothing to do with Zifa, they want nothing to do with football because they don’t feel secure with their funds.

“So corporate world only respond when they know investment is in safe hands and right now they don’t feel that way. So the only way for us to get on board, revamp, re-build restructure and have corporates on board is to get rid of this board that is there right now.

“I am confident that if this Zifa thing is taken care of people are also going to come in and start sponsoring confidently. Everywhere we go people are asking mukuita sei nenyaya yaCuthbert (what action against Cuthbert?)

“I have called (Jonathan) Mashingaidze (Zifa CEO) and warned him that if you are not going to shape up, you will not like what we are going to do but nothing has happened. So it has not worked and it’s time to get on it. We don’t want to be a toothless bulldog.”

Responding to a question regarding the Sports Commission meeting with Zifa tomorrow, Kanengoni-Malinga said: “Maybe they want to sit with them to try and find out what the problems are and everything but we already know what the problems are and it will just go on record to say there was a meeting held and this is what was discussed.”

Kanengoni-Malinga added that her ministry will also intervene in the other sporting codes.

“So far what we have noticed is that the most popular sport in Zimbabwe is football, we have cricket and rugby to a lesser extent. We want to make sure the popular sports do well and are managed well as well as the so-called minority sports.

“With individual sports they don’t face as many challenges because when looking for funding you are looking for funding for one person but maybe then in team sports there is a lot more money that is required.”

She said the ministry has received widespread support in its effort.

“Sport is the only thing that cuts across political divide. If you support Zanu PF, MDC or Mavambo, no matter what political party you support, when you watching sport everybody forgets about that. Which means it’s the unifying element that we need to promote and support,” she said. 

“This is what we are working on and it’s high time that we have right people in the right places.”

Comments (2)

Finally someone with brains has opened up in a government full of hare-brained people. I support you 100% maam go for it.

Tonderai Gonzo Snr - 30 January 2015

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