'Zifa must be dissolved'

HARARE - Members of Parliament have called for the resignation of Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) president Cuthbert Dube and his entire executive along with leaders of other national sports associations for incompetence.

This comes after Oliver Mandipaka, Zanu PF MP for Buhera West, moved a motion in Parliament on Tuesday calling on the House to take note of the first report of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Education, Sport, Arts and Culture on the state of sport in the country.

Mandipaka bemoaned the fact that as the report was being presented “the nation is quite aware that the game of soccer is on its death bed.”

Isaac Mackenzie, Zanu PF Kariba MP expressed sadness at reports that Dube and his board were not handling football affairs properly.

“In my opinion, I think that the leaders of Zifa should step down so that we get a chance to elect a new leadership for Zifa,” said Mackenzie.

“In this past week, Zimbabwe was disqualified from participating in the (2018) World Cup.

“This is because of the failure by Zifa to conduct football affairs,” he added.

Last week, Fifa barred Zimbabwe from taking part in the qualifiers for the 2018 Russia World Cup after failing to pay former coach Valinhos his outstanding $67 000. 

The lawmakers also called on government to come up with a policy framework to protect the game as “our sport is actually tarnished by bad events which are happening at Zifa day in day out.”

The portfolio committee recommended the establishment of a National Sports Policy which seeks to promote sports development.

It also called for the disbandment of the current Sports and Recreation Commission board, “to be replaced with a new board that incorporates sport knowledge and professionalism to develop sport in the country”.

Legislators also urged government to fund sports associations to avoid a situation where “Zifa is controlled by an individual.”

Parliamentarians also called on the august House to ensure legislation that ensures Zifa ?elections are held under the auspices of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to ensure transparency.

Mandipaka’s report noted that Zifa was facing a lack of adequate government and corporate support.

The report observed that the situation had seen Zifa accrue a debt of over $5 million dollars mainly from national team expenditures while the national coaching team staff are owed their wages.

“The association encountered a match-fixing scandal, popularly known as ‘Asiagate’ that saw several players, coaches and journalists being implicated,” read the report.

“The Committee calls on Parliament and the ministry of Sports to enact legislation that prohibits match-fixing.

“There must be prosecution of individuals caught on the wrong side of the law for their participation in the ‘Asiagate’ scandal so that a clear message is sent that match fixing is condoned.”

The committee’s report also bemoaned the football association’s lack of commitment to women’s football as evidenced by the few tournaments to promote them.

It also noted that the Premier Soccer League has continued to survive under difficult financial conditions which have seen a number of individually-owned clubs folding.

Sports such as rugby, and cricket also came under the spotlight in the report which revealed that the financial situation at Zimbabwe Cricket was bad in the light of the association’s cost centres which include developmental programmes and the hosting of tours.

According to the report Zimbabwe Cricket owes Metbank $15 million.

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