Zifa in crucial indaba

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) will tomorrow hold a crucial Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) scheduled to discuss the dissolution of the troubled association.

Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa insists the meeting will go ahead despite the efforts of disgruntled creditors, owed $6 million, to block the indaba.

“Yes; the meeting is on, thank you,” Chiyangwa told the Daily News yesterday before hanging up his phone.

Chiyangwa, who arrived in the country yesterday from France where he had gone to watch some of the matches at the ongoing Euro 2016 tournament, suffered a huge blow when the High Court ruled that Zifa failed to follow proper procedure in their initial attempt to dissolve the association last month.

The Harare businessman and his executive at their last Annual General Meeting had voted unanimously to enter the association into sequestration to bring the birth of a new debt-free governing body — the National Football Association of Zimbabwe (Nafaz).

The High Court then threw out Zifa’s application for sequestration on the basis the association had not followed proper procedures when they dissolved the association.

The government had also distanced itself from the Zifa dissolution forcing Chiyangwa and his executive to call for tomorrow’s EGM which is supposed to restart the process of another sequestration application.

However, the creditors are not happy with the fact Zifa wants to press ahead with the dissolution without giving them an assurance how they would be paid their money back.

Some of the creditors owed by Zifa include service providers, banks, hotels, former employees including coaches and administrators.

The Zifa debt was accrued over a long period of time dating back to Rafik Khan’s rein in the early 2000s.

When Wellington Nyatanga left the Zifa helm in 2010, the association’s debt stood at just below $2 million.

The Zifa finances suffered a further knock under Cuthbert Dube’s leadership and when the former PSMAS executive finally left office last December, Zifa was over $6 million in the red.

A group of creditors comprising former Zifa employees, creditors, football interest groups and stakeholders was yesterday running around gathering signatories for a petition.

The group is today expected to approach the High Court to apply for an interdict to stop tomorrow’s scheduled EGM.

While the creditors have launched their plan to block the meeting, some councillors seem to have also broken ranks with Chiyangwa’s leadership and insist they will not attend the meeting.

The dissatisfied councillors claim they have only received notifications of the meeting via Whatsapp without the agenda to be discussed.

“If there is going to be a meeting of this magnitude, I think a formal notice should circulate stating the agenda of the meeting but as it is stands there is nothing,” said a Zifa councillor, who chose to remain anonymous.

Fifa development officer for southern Africa Ashford Mamelodi said he had not been contacted regarding tomorrow’s EGM.

“I’m not aware of the Zifa meeting this weekend; maybe they communicated directly with the Fifa headquarters in Zurich,” Mamelodi, who is always present to observe such crucial meetings in the past, told the Daily News from his Gaborone base.

Fifa had last month advised Chiyangwa to follow and exhaust Zimbabwean laws before setting up Nafaz, including finding common ground with creditors.

“It is important that all parties in the dissolution of Zifa comply with the applicable laws of Zimbabwe.

“That the dissolution is open and transparent and embraces all the relevant stakeholders who would be affected by the dissolution of Zifa,” read part of the letter written by Fifa at the end of last month.

“If it so desires, Zifa should be dissolved properly and conclusively before a new association is accepted by Fifa.”

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