Zifa are falling apart

zifa graphicRobson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
ZIFA are being ripped apart by their army of creditors, with the bankrupt association disintegrating at a spectacular pace, matched only by the Warriors’ sensational nose-dive into their worst position in Africa in the history of the FIFA/Coca-Cola rankings.

It emerged yesterday that the troubled association now faces the grim possibility of losing its four fixed assets — ZIFA House on Stand Number 1175 along 53 Livingstone Avenue in Harare, the ZIFA Village in Mt Hampden, a house at stand number 100, McLoughlin Road, in Harare’s Kensington suburb and a house at stand number 13689, 39a Fife Street, in Bulawayo.

ZIFA have been hiding the four immovable properties under their other wing, ZIFA (Pvt) Ltd, whose directors include a number of the association’s past and present leaders, with the title deeds of the houses being held in trust by Gollop and Blank Legal Practitioners.

The Herald has seen a copy of a letter written by former ZIFA treasurer Frank Valdemarca in his capacity as one of the directors of ZIFA (Pvt) Ltd, to the association’s auditors on February 2010 in which the issue of the four properties was addressed.

“This is to certify that the following Title Deeds, registered in the name of ZIFA (Pvt) Ltd, are held in trust by Gollop and Blank Legal Practitioners, Harare,” Valdemarca wrote in his letter.

1. Stand 1175 of Salisbury Township Deed of Transfer No. 294-83, 53 Livingstone Avenue, Harare, Purchased in 1982.

2. Stand 13689 of Stand 321 Bulawayo Township, Deed of Transfer No. 317-83, 39a Fife Street, Bulawayo, Purchased in 1983.

3. Stand 100 of Kensington Estate, District of Salisbury, Deed of Transfer No. 8771-88, McLoughlin Road, Kensington, Harare, Purchased in 1988,

4. Arboretum of Mt Hampden, District of Salisbury, Deed of Transfer No. 2882/2000, ZIFA Training Centre, Mt Hampden, Purchased in 1999.”

However, in a landmark breakthrough that could signal serious problems for ZIFA, and expose the properties, the association received notification yesterday that their property in Bulawayo is set to be auctioned on March 15 at the Trade Fair Grounds in the City of Kings at 10am.

This is meant to settle a debt owed by the association to a local bank.

The notification came on the same day the Sheriff of the High Court of Zimbabwe attached movable property at the ZIFA Village, with former ZIFA communications officer Nicky Dlamini-Moyo saying they will also remove the artificial surface, which was donated by FIFA, either today or tomorrow.

ZIFA had, until now, provided a defence that the artificial surface cannot be attached, let alone removed, by their creditors because it was registered under ZIFA (Pvt) Ltd.

The Sheriff of the High Court took away 18 conference tables. 76 conference chairs, 10 fire extinguishers, a freezer, 27 double beds, four wheelbarrows, four fans, a kitchen table, three kitchen chairs and a tractor, while two water tanks and an artificial turf are set to be removed.

Four other former ZIFA employees — Tafirenyika Chitsungo, Hariet Mukodzongi, Christopher Manuel and Munyaradzi Siwatsi — are also armed with a High Court order issued by Justice Hungwe on July 17 2013 for them to be paid by the association.

According to the order:

a) The arbitration award issued by an arbitrator on the 30th of July 2012 in favour of the Applicants against the Respondent (ZIFA) whereby respondent was ordered to pay the 1st Applicant (Chitsungo) US$12 085,74, 2nd Applicant (Mukodzongi) US$7 507,36, third Applicant (Manuel) US$7 757,36 and 4th Applicant (Siwatsi) US$16 515.00 be and is hereby registered to be an order of this Honourable Court.

b) Respondent is ordered to pay Applicants salaries due to them from the 1st of August 2011 to the date Respondent pays Applicants their retrenchment packages and in the event that Respondent fails to pay salaries, Applicants be and are hereby granted leave to execute whatever is due to them in salaries.

It was a default judgment that ZIFA did not oppose.

A draft letter from ZIFA, as of Tuesday this week, said the association was going to pay US$5 000 to Gollop and Blank to file a response with the High Court to the application filed by their four former ZIFA employees.

The challenges facing ZIFA, which is being stripped to pieces by its former employees and some of the association’s major creditors, mirror the sorry state of the Warriors.

Yesterday, when the FIFA/Coca-Cola rankings were released, the Warriors suffered the fourth worst fall, among the 209 nations that are ranked by the world football governing body, after plunging 12 places down the ladder into 119th place.

The Warriors are now ranked in 38th place in Africa, their worst ranking on the continent since the FIFA/Coca-Cola rankings started more than 20 years ago, and they find themselves below Namibia and just two places above Lesotho.

Former Premier Soccer League chairman Tapiwa Matangaidze, who is now the MP (Zanu-PF) for Shurugwi South constituency, recently issued a chilling warning that there was a danger ZIFA could be liquidated.

“ZIFA, with a debt overhang of $6 million, is insolvent. Recently, we have read of attempts to spin the figure to US$4 million. Regardless, the Association is insolvent,” wrote Matangaidze.

“ZIFA’s continued financial transactions with other organisations, and companies in this country, clearly exposes those firms and entities.

“HOWEVER, SHOULD ONE, TWO OR SEVERAL OF ZIFA’s CREDITORS CALL FOR ITS LIQUIDATION, AND THE APPOINTMENT OF A JUDICIAL MANAGER IN THE INTERIM, SURELY, THIS CAN NEVER BE MISCONSTRUED TO BE GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION.

“ZIFA’s creditors have a right at law to be protected by the country’s judiciary system.

“The creditors gave a service to ZIFA in good faith and in a normal business transaction. The creditors have a right to be paid. Our laws, just like laws in other countries, are very clear on creditor/debtor relationships.

“As things stand, ZIFA simply has no capacity to pay off its debts.”

Matangaidze said time was running out for ZIFA.

“If ZIFA has well-wishers, locally and internationally, Mr (Cuthbert) Dube included, who can settle the debts, then by all means, let it be done quickly, failing which I humbly submit the following for the football community’s debate:

(a) That at least one of ZIFA’s creditors petition the courts for its compulsory liquidation and the appointment of a Judicial Manager

(b) The Judicial Manager, so appointed, should engage FIFA in pursuing options to fund and reconstruct ZIFA

(c) That ZIFA Board members and Councillors be appraised of the implications of specification with regards to the people at the helm of liquidated organisations.”