Looking forward to a better Zifa

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THE Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) elections are now water under the bridge with a new board headed by Cuthbert Dube.

He was retained this weekend and it is every one’s duty and obligation to accept the election results despite whatever misgivings we have.

Some of us did not want Dube back at the helm of Zifa. It is our democratic right to want and seek change.

Nonetheless, we congratulate him and all the others that were victorious at the weekend and all we want now is that we move on.

Elections are not about fighting, they are simply about having different views and wishes. At the end of it all, we all belong to football otherwise we would not care a single bit about the sport.

Now that we have a new Zifa board in place, we should tell the board of our wishes which we want addressed during their tenure.
Some of these are among those who would be assessing the success of Dube and his board over the next four years in office.

The wish-list might not be agreeable to every one who reads this column, but what it does is obviously start a debate that Dube and his board must listen to and participate if they are going to address the expectations of millions of Zimbabweans who are football followers.

First and foremost, there must be best practice corporate governance at Zifa with transparency, honesty and integrity of the highest level at the core of this corporate governance.

Any organisation that does not embrace best practice corporate governance is doomed and anathema to the sustainable development of the organisation. Dube must see to it that every aspect of football in Zimbabwe is managed in a transparent manner with the highest levels of honesty and integrity.

One the problems we had in Dube’s last term was lack of transparency and it was clear that honesty and integrity did not exist to the level a lot of us expected, for lack of a better way of expressing this deficit.

The whole world respects an organisation that is run in a transparent manner and being honest and upright in one’s integrity must never be compromised at any one time. It is better to differ with other people in opinions, but even these will respect a leader whose honesty and integrity is beyond doubt.

Another watchword Dube and his new board need to keep looking out for is fairness — they should always be fair in whatever they do and with whomever they interact, even if differing in opinion or ideas.

The four tenets of corporate governance mentioned above will improve the brand called Zifa and in the long run, bring about sponsorship and even better attendances at matches. Sponsors will always work with Zifa if they perceive it as a transparent, honest and fair body.

And, in pursuance of these, Dube needs to be advised that what is needed at Zifa is not a president with deep pockets to finance the operations of Zifa, but an astute leader who s able to attract sponsorship rather than finance Zifa from his own pocket.

Financing Zifa from one’s own pocket smacks of lack of transparency and integrity and also lack of accountability and no sponsor would want to work with Zifa as long as it is perceived that the Zifa president can ride roughshod on them, simply because he can always bring his own finance into play.

The biggest ask from every Zimbabwean is that the Warriors, the senior national soccer team, reach the finals of first the Africa Nations Cup (Afcon) and, secondly, the World Cup. Both tournaments will have qualifying rounds during Dube’s second tenure — for the 2015 continental finals and for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.

Dube will become a hero if he puts in place an environment that enables the Warriors to reach the continental finals for the first time ever in 2015 — the World Cup finals three years later will be a bonus.

What this calls for is giving national coach Ian Gorowa all the necessary financial and logistical support for succeeding in the qualifying matches — enough money to camp and to play in friendly matches and enough money to pay the players on time.

In this case, the shenanigans that we witnessed recently between national coach Gorowa and Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze should never be allowed to be repeated.

In short, Dube should have his fingers on the pulse of the national team at all times and should address timeously all that might impede the national team in its quest to qualify for the 2015 Afcon finals.