Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
DESPERATE ZIFA have written to lawyers representing former Warriors coach Valinhos in a bid to seek a settlement of the $67 000 owed to the Brazilian and possibly secure reinstatement of Zimbabwe in the draw for the 2018 World Cup. FIFA insisted through deputy secretary to the FIFA disciplinary committee Jose Rodriguez that the decision was not subject to appeal but a review would only be made if ZIFA and Valinhos struck a settlement.
There were indications, too, yesterday that ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube has convened a full board meeting to discuss the Valinhos case and the mounting litigation that the beleaguered association is facing from its former employees.
A four-member emergency committee of the ZIFA board initially met over the weekend but the full executive is now expected to convene in the capital and discuss the pressing Valinhos case and other issues.
Dube, who at some stage paid the salaries of such coaches like Ian Gorowa, Rahman Gumbo, Madinda Ndlovu and Norman Mapeza, has also instructed the ZIFA lawyers to engage all the former Warriors coaches who have instituted legal proceedings or were contemplating taking ZIFA to the court.
Although Dube paid for the upkeep of the coaches, the association was still left owing them huge sums of money by the time they ended their marriage with ZIFA.
ZIFA’s huge blunder in poaching Belgian Tom Saintfiet from Namibia also came at a cost as the nomadic gaffer instituted legal action despite having conducted just one training session with the Warriors before being deported by the Immigration authorities for working without a permit.
ZIFA chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze on Monday wrote to Valinhos legal representative Victor Eleuterio seeking the former Warriors’ coach’s consent to discussing a payment plan that would be effective from this month.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association hereby requests your esteemed office and person to facilitate an engagement between your client Mr. Jose Claudinei Georgini (Valinhos) and the Zimbabwe Football Association over the outstanding salary of $67 000.
“We are committed to start servicing the debt upon formalisation of the re-engagement as from this month.
“We have also instructed our lawyers to engage you as from tomorrow 17th March 2015, so that we agree to a credible payment proposal, whose initial down payment should be made inside this month.
“We also request for banking details of your client to enable the association to process payments once the engagement has been formalised.
“Our association has since been suspended from the 2018 FIFA World Cup- Russia qualifiers over the outstanding salary for Jose Claudinei Georgini. We have since engaged the FIFA disciplinary committee who have said that a review of our suspension would only be considered once the association and your client have struck a position,’’ wrote Mashingaidze.
The letter was also copied to FIFA development officer for Eastern and Southern Africa Ashford Mamelodi, Valinhos, and Rodriguez.
Zimbabwe’s expulsion from the World Cup has angered the nation at large and is set to be a subject of discussion in Parliament this week as legislators also seek answers to the goings-on at ZIFA House and find possible lasting solutions.
Apart from meeting as a full board, the ZIFA leadership are set to appear before Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Andrew Langa to explain the circumstances under which the Valinhos saga was handled.
Langa said ZIFA needed to accept that they had failed the nation in the manner they handled a very sensitive matter with such dire consequences like the expulsion from the World Cup, which has severe ramifications on the careers of players.
The Minister, who has been criticised for taking a middle of the road approach to the problems at ZIFA, also hinted that his ministry would invite a FIFA delegation to Zimbabwe to try and have government and the world soccer body to discuss at length the problems rocking domestic football.
“My Ministry has instructed the Sport and Recreation Commission to direct ZIFA to submit a report on the matter in question.
“Neither the Sport and Recreation Commission nor the Ministry were made aware of the disciplinary action taken against ZIFA, the result of which was the imposition of a fine and the granting of the grace period to pay the creditor (Mr. Jose Claudinei Georgini) his dues.
“As Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, I have summoned ZIFA and SRC to a meeting next week to deliberate on these and other issues in an effort to try and resolve these burning issues concerning our beautiful game of football,” Langa said.
The meeting is set to be held tomorrow.