Grace Chingoma and Daniel Nemukuyu
IT just keeps getting worse for beleaguered ZIFA amid revelations yesterday that the artificial turf that the association lost through an auction on Monday will now benefit a private school in Harare.
The turf — installed at ZIFA Village in Mt Hampden through direct funding by world soccer governing body FIFA — was auctioned for $115 000 together with other movable property that includes a tractor that fetched $9 000, beds and office furniture.
Monday’s auction comes a week before the ZIFA House in Bulawayo also goes under the hammer for yet another debt which the broke soccer mother body has failed to settle.
It has emerged that the artificial turf was bought by Richard Zvinavashe, son to the late national hero and former commander of the Zimbabwe National Army Vitalis Zvinavashe, and now looks set to be stripped from the ZIFA Village ground and re-laid at the ground at Tynwald High School.
The turf went under the hammer after ZIFA failed to settle a debt amounting to $88 000 they owed to former communications manager Nicolette Dhlamini-Moyo.
Dhlamini-Moyo secured a writ to attach the ZIFA property after the association had failed to settle the compensation she was awarded by the Labour Court following her unlawful dismissal from the soccer body.
The initial figure awarded by the Labour Court to Dhlamaini-Moyo was $10 000 but defaulting ZIFA sat on the matter until the figure ballooned to $88 000 through cumulative interest over the last three years.
Now ZIFA’s loss is set to be a huge gain for a private school in the capital amid revelations that the new owners of the turf have engaged specialists who are now preparing to uproot the turf from ZIFA Village.
The sale of the artificial turf has generated a lot of interest among the domestic football family.
And The Herald established that the first son of the late army general Richard Zvinavashe had acquired the turf to be put at one of the schools which were built by his father.
The Zvinavashe family, under a trust, runs Tynwald Primary and High Schools.
Although none of the Trust’s board members could be contacted yesterday, an auctioneer with Revelations Auctioneers who handled the auction of the ZIFA property confirmed that the turf had been bought for use at a school.
Despite declining to be named, the auctioneer said he was speaking on behalf of his client.
“They want to use it for a school. It is a private school and they want to put a turf. They have put in place a team of professionals to get this turf and they know what they are doing.
“These are people specially trained to deal with these turfs and do maintenance work. The turf can be removed nicely, remember it is not natural grass,” he said.
The auctioneer said the turf would be removed from the ZIFA Village once they are done with their preparations.
“Depending on our preparations, when we are ready we will go and remove it.”
The auctioneer said while it was his first time to sell an artificial turf of this kind he had previously dealt with a sale of a tartan track for athletics.
“In auction business we sell almost everything. I have sold a track almost similar to the turf and there is no problem at all,” he said.
The ZIFA House in Bulawayo was attached by CBZ Bank Limited over a $1,5 million debt will be auctioned on March 13 at Holland Auctioneers.
Stand Number 13689 of Stand 321 Bulawayo Township, which houses the football body’s provincial offices, faces the hammer after ZIFA and its guarantor and association president Cuthbert Dube failed to pay CBZ’s debt.
In an advertisement placed by Holland Auctions in the media recently, ZIFA is set to lose the immovable property together with 30 other individuals and organisations who owe banks millions of dollars.
The Sheriff of the High Court attached the property after a court order by Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo in Harare.
Justice Matanda-Moyo ordered ZIFA to pay its outstanding capital debt of $1 054 747 together with $548 589 interest.
The court further ordered the football governing body to pay bank charges amounting to $2 411,73.
Dube’s property, Number 44 Midlands Township of Midlands, was also declared executable.
ZIFA failed to raise the $1,5 million and the Sheriff attached the building housing the body’s offices in Bulawayo. According to summons filed at the High Court in March last year, ZIFA entered into an agreement in which the bank offered the soccer body an overdraft facility.
ZIFA utilised the facility and by February 2014, the debt was at $1 054 474,65 to which interest was charged in the sum of $548 589,45.
According to the agreement, ZIFA was supposed to meet all the bank charges and as at February last year, the charges stood at $2 411,73.
When ZIFA breached the agreement, the bank tried to recover its money to no avail resulting in the institution of legal proceedings.
Gambe and Partners represented CBZ in the legal proceedings.
The country’s football governing body has been under siege of late with creditors swooping on their various properties as they sought to recover their dues.
Property at Zifa offices in Harare and Zifa Village in Mt Hampden has been attached with some auctioned or in the process of being sold following court action by various individuals and companies.
Dube’s personal property was early last month nearly taken away by the Deputy Sherriff in Harare over the soccer body’s failure to pay a $281 000 debt to Pandhari Lodge.
The property includes four vehicles and household furniture.
Although both the ZIFA board and the ZIFA assembly met inside the last two weeks, the domestic football chiefs sadly failed to come up with concrete resolutions to retire the crippling debts and the football body could at the is rate be without any property to talk about by mid-year.