'Zifa has failed'

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Football association (Zifa) leadership led by flamboyant Harare businessman Philip Chiyangwa has failed and crippled local football, stakeholders yesterday told the parliamentary portfolio committee on Primary and Secondary Education, Sport and Arts.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday before the parliamentary portfolio committee, the football stakeholders had no kind words for Chiyangwa and his administration.

“We are really concerned by the way our football is being governed, our football is in a deplorable state. We used to have our players from Zimbabwe flooding Europe but now it’s difficult for our players to penetrate Europe because of the state of our football,” veteran football administrator Francis Zimunya told the committee.

“Football people are being side-lined by the government, Zifa continuously abuses Fifa funds meant for football development. We are now approaching the elections but there is no electoral committee in place.

The terms of people who must vote in this election have expired and we do not know who is going to vote. There is also another issue of high fees required for someone to contest for a position in Zifa.

The money is around $1 000 to $5 000 and only the rich can get that money so at the end of the day we will end up having the rich people leading Zifa without having the right knowledge.”

The former Zifa Northern Region chairperson said the current Zifa leadership had reduced the association to beggars yet different stakeholders were paying money for development purposes.

“The current leadership has destroyed our football. We do not need the government to give us money to develop football because we have schools, parents are paying sports fees at every school, so the money for development is there,” Zimunya added.

Football legend July Sharara says the current football leadership does not have respect for former players.

“We are not afforded an opportunity to play a role in the development of football. Our stories are very sad as former players as these people only want to recognise us when we are dead,” said Sharara.

“Legends in England are respected but back here I am not even allowed to watch my former team Dynamos playing, this is very sad. Former players are suffering and no one is helping them. They are being treated badly but we can play a critical role in identifying young players.”

Another former player Eric Aisam said Zifa must craft a policy to make sure that every club has a junior policy.

“We are in this crisis because many clubs do not have a junior policy, Zifa is failing to force all clubs to have a junior policy, it doesn’t need money; during our time we were given ‘six buns and a glass of Mazoe’. Zifa must be serious with the way they run our game,” Aisam said.

After the sentiments from the stakeholders the committee said they will invite other stakeholders
again soon.

Recently, a Zifa financial report compiled by Baker Tilly Gwatidzo Chartered Accountants revealed a number of anomalies with regards to corporate governance.
In a potential breach of good corporate governance practices, Chiyangwa, earned $72 000 in 2017 alone by renting out his business offices along Enterprise Road in Harare to the association.

Zifa’s offices were relocated from its headquarters at 53 Livingstone Avenue in Harare, to his plush offices along Enterprise Road in the capital two years ago.

According to auditors, Chiyangwa’s company Kilima Investments currently charges Zifa $6 000 a month to rent its offices.

The lease agreement between Zifa and Kilima also stipulates that the rental fees, which must be paid in advance at the start of every year, will be increased bi-annually.

When Zifa moved into Chiyangwa’s Highlands property in June 2016, the monthly rental fees were pegged at $2 500 per month, before a significant increase to the current $6 000 was effected at the start of 2017 — marking a 140 percent jump in rentals in a space of six months.

The stipulated increases going forward also means that Chiyangwa will stand to gain $90 000 per year between 2019 and 2020, when the rental fees will go up from $6 000 to $7 500 per month.

In total, the Harare businessman, who has vast interests in property development, would have made a total of $420 000 by the time the lease agreement between Zifa and Kilima expires in September 2021.

The same audit report noted that it wasn’t only Kilima Investments which was doing business with Zifa as another firm, Hansporte Investments — in which Chiyangwa’s manager Marshal Jonga is a director — was in charge of the Zifa Village in Mt Hampden.

“The association paid $50 000 to Hansporte Investments for the renovations of the Zifa Village, and for furniture and fittings,” the audit report said.

The same audit also noted that Zifa’s debt now stands at $7 million, borrowed $1,2 million from the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) to finance the Warriors’ 2017 Afcon campaign.

Zifa again is failing to repay the loan which is now accumulating interest on a monthly basis.

At this rate, Zifa’s ability to remain as a going concern is no longer attainable.


 

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