Kamambo has mammoth task

HARARE - After an incredible election victory to topple Philip Chiyangwa, new Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) president Felton Kamambo has got a number of pressing issues on his plate.

A number of local football followers believe that getting rid of Chiyangwa was the end of the troubles beseeching the domestic game because ever since he came into power in 2015 to replace Cuthbert Dube, the business magnate had become a polarising figure in the local game due to his brash management style.

A number of dissenting voices were suspended or banned from taking part in all football activities with Chiyangwa and his inner circle comprising his deputy Omega Sibanda and board member for finance Philemon Machana consolidating all power. His elevation to Cosafa president in 2016 made Chiyangwa an influential figure on the continent which he used to great effect.

The Harare businessman successfully led Ahmad Ahmad’s charge to topple the long-serving Confederation of African Football (Caf) president Issah Hayatou.

Chiyangwa also played a leading role in helping Fifa president Gianni Infantino ascend to the apex of world football that same year.

Despite all these achievements on the continental and international front, Chiyangwa never really endeared himself with the local football followers and stakeholders because of his braggadocios personality. Football is definitely a humbling sport and Chiyangwa learned the hard way last Sunday when he lost his bid to retain the Zifa presidency to Kamambo.

After winning the mandate to lead Zimbabwean football for the next four years, Kamambo and his new executive have got a lot on their plate.

“I’m really humbled to have been elected the Zifa president. I would like to thank all those who voted for me,” the former Silo United chairperson said during his acceptance speech.

“But it should be known that the honeymoon is over. It’s now time for us to deliver on what we have been promising in our manifestos.”

The honeymoon is absolutely over considering the daunting tasks which Kamambo and his team must confront during their reign.

Debt

At the moment, Zifa is sitting on a ballooning $8 499 175 debt with the association’s auditors, BakerTilly Gwatidzo Chartered Accountants noting that the losses are likely to increase.

For the past two years, Zifa has been making an average annual loss of at least $1 249 500.

The major reason Zifa has failed to address their spiraling losses is because when Chiyangwa and his executive came into power, they refused to engage with the creditors.

Instead, they opted to liquidate Zifa and create the National Football association of Zimbabwe (Nafaz) in early 2016.

However, Nafaz suffered a stillbirth as the Master of the High Court refused to grant the order forcing Chiyangwa to revert back to Zifa.

Nothing really significant was done to address the issue after that which left the debt to accumulate more interest.

BakerTilly Gwatidzo Chartered Accountants prepared the 2017 Zifa accounts presented at last weekend’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on the basis that they expected the association to get some funding.

Besides that, the auditors would have qualified Zifa no longer as a going concern because their obligations far outweighed the assets.

There is some hope though for Zifa considering that the Fifa Forward Grant is significantly increasing from $650 000 in 2018 to a whopping $5 million starting next year.

This is a considerable increase which means Zifa will have more funding for their operations in 2019.

Presenting his 2019 National Budget, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube awarded the Ministry of Sports and Youth a total of $53.5 million.

National Sports Associations will now get more funding from the government which will be a major relief to Zifa.

“My administration will not run away from the debt as it will be our responsibility to interrogate the debt situation through engagement of creditors and debtors alike before coming up with a realistic debt servicing plan which shall enlist the services of government, Fifa, Caf and member of the football family,” Kamambo said in his manifesto.

Image 

There is no doubt that Zifa’s public image is battered because of the years of maladministration dating back to the 90s.

The association has always been embroiled in scandals and squabbles which has had a negative effect on the brand.

Negative headlines and Zifa have gone hand-in-glove over the years and this needs Kamambo ensure corporate governance is adhered to at all time.

Sponsors and other well-wishers no longer wanted to be associated with anything to do with Zifa.

Restoring Zifa’s tattered image will ensure that the association can attract corporate partners again which will help increase revenue streams.

Women’s football

Zifa has completely abandoned their obligation to ensure the girl child has an equal access to play the game.

The Mighty warriors are treated as second class citizens as Zifa dedicates very limited resources to the women’s game.

While the Warriors camp at five-star hotels and travel by air, the Mighty Warriors have to put up at the snake-infested Zifa Village where there is no electricity at times.

Sometimes the players have to skip meals after Zifa fails to provide it or simply forget that the ladies need to eat.

Women’s football is growing all over the world but Zifa is not moving in with the times. 

All the teams that are travelling to the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup in France next June will be flown in first class.

This was after an outcry that men’s team’s travel in first class while their lady counterparts have to contend with economy class flights.

Zifa also needs to use the increased Fifa Forward Grant to help fund the Women’s Super League which has been reduced to a social league because of no support from sponsors.

Reforms

This past election showed that there are a lot of reforms Zifa needs to do in terms of their constitution and electoral code moving forward.

Zifa has a number of standing committees that ensure the smooth running of the game like referees, disciplinary, appeals, accounts, high performance and technical committees.

All these bodies need to be manned by competent and credible individuals at all times in order not to disrupt the game.

“My administration upon assuming office shall constitute a lean but efficient Constitution Review Committee whose mandate shall be the review of the current Zifa statutes with a view towards driving the statutory reforms programme which shall have input from Zifa congress, SRC and Fifa,” he said.

“The standing committees as stipulated in the Zifa constitution shall be operationalised with the support of Fifa and SRC.”

Junior football

Just like what they have done to women’s football, Zifa has completely abandoned their junior development programmes.   

Some of the funds from the Fifa Forward Grants are supposed to be going towards helping associations organize and fund grassroots development projects.

However, over the years, nothing has really been done so that Zifa has a robust and effective junior football structure.

At the moment, only concerned and passionate individuals have been at the forefront of ensuring that there is junior football in Zimbabwe.

This is one area Kamambo and his team need to seriously look into because there is no conveyor belt producing the next Knowledge Musona or Khama Billiat.

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