Reforms needed urgently at Zifa

HARARE - Events in Zurich this past week should be a lesson to the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) as it tries to move on after former president Cuthbert Dube’s reign.

Fifa’s long-serving president Sepp Blatter was banned for 90 days from all football activities together with Uefa president Michel Platini.

Fifa’s former secretary-general Jerome Valcke, who had earlier been placed on forced leave, was also handed a 90-day ban.

Blatter and Platini have been under extreme pressure since Swiss attorney-general Michael Lauber initiated an investigation into a controversial awarding of World Cup TV rights to mortified ex-Fifa executive Jack Warner.

By discarding Blatter and those accused of corruption, it appears Fifa is slowly taking steps to cleanse itself of the putridness it had become associated with over the years.

Zifa are in a similar situation after last weekend’s Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) which revoked the mandate of the board led by Dube.

That was the first and significant step towards cleansing Zimbabwean football which has sadly been saddled by a ballooning $6 million debt brought about by Dube’s failure to rein in his secretariat led by CEO Jonathan Mashingaidze.

For Zifa to regain the trust of the corporate world and the public they now have two crucial matters to deal with ASAP.

The first and important agenda to tackle is to see to it that the Asiagate match-fixing scandal is brought to finality.

Asiagate will always remain the big elephant in the room when it comes to local football and as long as it remains like that, sponsors will be sceptical of partnering Zifa.

Individuals accused of taking part in the scandal have their right to be tried before a competent judicial system.

Those found guilty should be ostracised from local football while those pardoned must be given a chance to move on with their lives in football or elsewhere.

The second important aspect to deal with at Zifa is a forensic audit to trace the origins of this $6 million debt.

If there are individuals who manipulated the system to milk the association they will be caught by this audit and obviously brought to book.

This will go a long way in restoring investor confidence in the local game which has suffered from a lack of sponsorship in recent years.

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