FIFA development officer for Southern Africa Ashford Mamelodi says the world soccer governing body will assist financially-troubled Zifa to settle its ballooning debt which now amounts to almost $6 million.
Mamelodi is in the country in the company of Fifa senior development manager Africa, Zelklifi Ngoufonja, on a five-day mission to assess how they can help Zifa pay their various creditors. He said the football governing body had met with the association’s creditors and negotiations were still ongoing.
The two high-ranking officials were yesterday to meet senior government officials and the Sports and Recreation Commission before they leave for their bases.
The pair was briefed by Zifa president Cuthbert Dube on the stage they had reached with various creditors in their bid to solve their financial problems.
Mamelodi, however, said their assistance would be limited to engaging Zifa’s creditors in a bid to proffer solutions which would also help them service their debt.
Speaking after a tour of the Zifa Village in Mt Hampden yesterday, Mamelodi said: “What we can do is to assist Zifa by finding solutions to the problem. We can’t issue any cheque to any member association to settle its debts. It would be a bad precedent because we have 209 member associations.
“We have been here since Monday and we have met with Zifa creditors to find the best way to help.
“Negotiations are ongoing and this is how we can assist. We will continue to engage them but this is a national problem which requires all stakeholders in Zimbabwe,” said Mamelodi.
Asked on the $500 000 for the new Zifa headquarters, Mamelodi said the money would be released in January.
“That is part of the solution we are talking about, but the $500 000 is very little to service the debt. Part of it, yes, but it will only be released in January,” said Mamelodi.
Former Zifa communications manager Nicky Dhlamini-Moyo had attached the association’s equipment as part of efforts to recover the $88 000 she is owed by the association. Some of the debts date back to 2009 before the current board came into office.
Two weeks ago, Dube made a passionate appeal to their various creditors not to attach the association’s property as they had made a commitment to pay through a payment plan.
“As the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa), we have noted with deep concern the increasing number of creditors who have been itching to execute writs (against the association) by way of attaching property and other measures and in a bid to recover what is owed to them,” Dube said.
“While we note our creditors’ rights to payment for services rendered to the association, I would like to passionately appeal to all our stakeholders to bear with us as we continue with efforts to implement a debt servicing and turnaround plan to cater for all those issues.
“Much as it is not a secret that Zifa has serious financial problems — with a debt of nearly $6 million — I would also like to assure all our creditors and suppliers that my board remains committed to servicing all debts assumed under this council’s current tenure, and those inherited in March 2010.
“As stated earlier, this repayment plan is not only anchored in our four-year strategic plan (SP), but continuous engagement with our creditors and debtors as well.
“Crucially, the essence of that on-going dialogue is to hammer out payment plans and stave off the execution of writs, which would have meant the removal of property at Zifa House and village.
“While we are happy to announce that the process has been encouraging and very progressive, some creditors have committed to writing off or discounting a portion of their debts with Zifa,” Dube said.
“Regrettably, there are some who have still maintained a confrontational stance by sustaining court cases, but we are hopeful that these on-going efforts will bring us a win-win situation.
“Zifa is a strategic national institution and, as such, Zimbabweans must collectively proffer long-lasting solutions to the game’s challenges in the national interest.
“As you know, the scenario we are confronted with is not unique to the national association and hence the strategies we have adopted to survive.
“Fellow Zimbabweans, I am also pleased to share with you that I was mandated by the Zifa board to lead this negotiation process in efforts to find amicable ways of liquidating our debts.
“Even though, the association’s revenue streams remain limited, we will not tire in efforts to deal with those challenges. On debtors, I would like also to inform you that Zifa is owed in excess of $300 000 by some affiliates and institutions, whom we are pursuing under an aggressive debt-recovery plan or process.”