Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
Deputy Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Tabetha Kanengoni-Malinga yesterday insisted that poor management was the root of most problems being faced by Zifa arguing that it had contributed to the national game deteriorating to its lowest levels in the past few years.
This comes after a meeting held on Saturday between the Sports and Recreation Committee and Zifa in Harare where the Zifa president indicated that there is need to look at the problems holistically rather than to focus on him only and highlighted that there is lack of financial resources which is affecting the operation of the association.
The meeting was meant to try and find solutions to the problems that have been haunting the national football mother body including the in-fighting and the challenges the game is facing.
In her response to the meeting, Kanengoni-Malinga said they are aware of the financial challenges but the main problem with Zifa has been poor management.
“I am glad Cuthbert mentioned there is a problem in Zifa, he is not denying which shows I was justified. The issue to do with lack of funding while understandable, we can’t say there has been full funding but it’s not a case where there is zero funding. Zifa get funding from Fifa they get US0 000, last year we also funded CHAN in support of the team and have assisted where we can financially.
“My problem is the management issue, wherever we have scarce resources they must be managed carefully. There are many associations facing financial challenges, this is not just about sport it’s a problem across all sectors but wherever we have the right people in the right place running things well then the issue we talk about is management issue.
“This is not the case with football. We have been trying through SRC to get Zifa to give us some documents, what they are owed and what they owe, what is their strategic plan but they have not. If anything is in order it should be in place so that when we ask we get it and see how we can help each other.
“Some board members are disgruntled, Zifa vice-president (Omega Sibanda) and other board members. Even the document that was presented yesterday was not shown to all Zifa board members and it is such small things that we are saying it’s not an issue of lack of funding but management issue.
“Look at women’s football, the management there has not been well, (Jonathan) Mashingaidze is not working well with the people there or its vice-versa I don’t really know what’s happening but they can’t seem to agree on anything,” said Kanengoni-Malinga.
The Deputy Minister said it is their duty as a ministry to ensure that the few resources that are there are used properly and will not sit back and watch when things are not well.
“There is a chance that we will be able to change something in sport. It was clear sport needed full attention and needed its own ministry and needed a radical change, that radical change needs to happen.
“We as government we are responsible to see that those scarce resources are used properly and transparently.
“We will sit down with SRC to get a proper feedback on the meeting when the minister (Andrew Langa) comes back. But my only concern is football is not being managed properly, we need to see that we have got proper structures, coaches, there is no vote buying, match fixing among other things.
“So I am hoping that as we are fighting to move on in the right direction, everyone who sees there is need to move things should come on board. If Cuthbert and Mashingaidze really love football so much there is need to heed the call by the people. I don’t want them to look down upon me as a female leader because I am very capable,” said Kanengoni-Malinga.
Kanengoni-Malinga said they are also likely to start investigation on the allegations that there was vote-buying during last year’s elections that saw Dube retaining his position as the Zifa president and warned that if the allegations prove to be true there will be consequences to those found on the wrong side.
“If we start investigating and find out that there are people who received money they will be in hot soup. We know a lot of money was used in the negative direction.
“These are rumours I don’t have the facts but at this point I think it’s important we start investigations. It’s our duty to actually investigate and find out the truth.
“I cannot give a time-line at the moment, we have not spoken to the minister and SRC. We will sit down with the minister and SRC and come up with a proper time-line but I am hoping the minister and SRC will support the idea of having things moving on.
“We need to prove that this ministry is worthy to be there as a standalone ministry. We need to show that we are in support of our athletes, these are the people we should not let down.
“The management issue is not about resources, it’s a matter of having the right people in the right place, people willing to go an extra mile. Here we are talking of a football leader who was on many boards but was fired because of embezzlement of funds. We just want the right people in the right place.
“If Cuthbert really loves football he must do the right thing, he must step down, he must resign,” added Kanengoni-Malinga.