Zifa must learn from the past

HARARE - Zimbabwean football administrators should learn from the past, judging by what transpired last week at the Warriors send-off ceremony for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals.

The players refused to attend the function at a top local hotel after they reached a deadlock with the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) over winning bonuses, allowances and accommodation.

It was an embarrassing moment for the entire country as the players snubbed the function — whose guest of honour was then Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

In the past, there have been many occasions where the national team has boycotted matches or refused to board planes before crucial matches due to payment disputes with Zifa.

It is not a healthy situation for both parties that they have to be involved in negotiations that go into the middle of the night discussing such rudimentary issues.

For the players, valuable preparation time is lost while haggling over better remuneration and in the end; the primary goal they would have set out to achieve — which is to win football matches — will be in jeopardy.

As for the association, Zifa no longer need any more bad press publicity due to their already-battered image.

The more media report of player boycotts and strikes, the more difficult it becomes for Zifa to attract the much-needed sponsorship from corporate partners.     

Putting contracts of the national team players in place will allow the mother body to once and for all deal with this contentious issue of remuneration.

Everyone called up for national duty must sign the contract or else they should not be allowed to represent Zimbabwe at any level.

Zifa must engage the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (Fuz) in drafting these contracts, which will determine how much the players should earn in terms of allowances, appearance fees and winning bonuses.

The issue of standard accommodation should also be included in this document as it will go a long way in ending the squabbles we have become accustomed to over the years.

Once a player knows the going rate which Zifa pays for all their allowances and it is in black and white; there is no way they will embark on industrial action, let alone threatening not to fulfil fixtures.

It’s not rocket science; all progressive football associations around the world have such contracts with their players.

It removes unnecessary conflicts at crucial stages when the team should be concentrating on playing football.  

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