WHILE it’s all looking gloomy for Zifa which is saddled with litigations from former employees, the national association has managed to reduce its debt from $6 million to $4 million following engagements with creditors.
Debts, mostly accrued from national teams assignments and various service providers have been piling on since 2010 when Cuthbert Dube won his first term in office.
He was re-elected for a second term in March 2014.
Yesterday, Dube told our sister paper NewsDay Sport, that after various engagements with companies they owe, they have received sympathy and reduced the debt by almost $2 million.
“I was given the mandate to negotiate with everybody we owe by the assembly and have managed to engage them directly following the visit by Fifa officials last year,” he said.
“We have received discounts of up to 50% from some service providers with one company completely writing off the debt. From $6 million, we are down to about $4 million and if everything goes according to plan, we would clear the slate by the end of the year.
“This is a year of transformation and I am happy that there is sympathy because this is not about me or Zifa, but about the national game.
“Most of the debts were accrued by national teams assignments, in fact, about 90% of the debt, because we don’t get any government funding and we have no sponsors. We believe that confidence will return once we deal with this debt,” Dube added.
Some of Zifa’s key creditors include CBZ Bank, where it is understood there is an overdraft of $1,5 million, Cresta Hotel and Pandhari Lodge, where the senior national team is normally accommodated.
Former communications manager Nicky Dhlamini-Moyo is the latest in the long list of people who have swooped on Zifa property to auction it to recover monies owed. Dhlamini Moyo is owed $88 000 after being fired from the national association 30 months back.
Part of the property set to go under the hammer today at KM Auctions include, bags balls, lawnmowers, bibs, 23 footballs, Adidas shorts, jerseys, desktops and a printer.
But Dube said the auction could still be stopped.
“There could be developments with regards to that,” he said.
Former chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya and former Warriors assistant manager Charles Dzvairo have gone to the courts, claiming they are still employed by the association and are seeking back pay.
In November last year, Fifa Southern Region Development officer Ashford Mamelodi and Africa development manager Zelklifi Ngoufonja, based in Zurich, were in Harare where they engaged seven of Zifa’s key creditors in a bid to assist in the debt servicing. They are understood to have engaged a local firm to assist in the debts issue.
At the end of their visit, Ngoufonja said: “The association is at a situation where they really do not have the finances to repay all these things. From what I understand now, the chunk of the debt is credited to the national team.
“This is huge and that’s why we very much encourage the State to work together with the association, they cannot do it alone.
“Some of the debt was accrued by some people who are no longer there, but they did it in the name of the association. Now we understand better. We have been in discussions with the creditors on how best we could forgive and move on.”
As the national association looks to a positive 2015, Dube said focus on the field of play will be on the new look national team, which is under Kalisto Pasuwa and has already played three international friendly matches.
The senior team was disbanded after failure to qualify for the group stages of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, being knocked out by Tanzania.
“We did not perform well. But we hope that the new team in place will do better when they take part in the All-Africa Games and Olympic Games qualifiers. Exposure is critical at this stage for the young boys, then we will look at the output after the investment in this new team.
“The team needs to be looked after very well and I am happy to say there is interest from the Diaspora for some of the Zimbabwean players based outside the continent. The welfare of the players, even in the women’s league, is critical,” Dube said.
Zifa will be looking to confirm a new patron to replace the late John Landa Nkomo and have already made the request to the government via the Sports Commission. The country has two vice-presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, both key followers of the national game.
The long dragging Asiagate match-fixing scandal is expected to be completed by April.
Dube called for a unity of purpose between the board, secretariat and the assembly.
“We need to improve on unity in the board and the assembly and speak with one voice. The game should be the ultimate winner,” he said.