Bothwell Mahlengwe Sports Correspondent
ONLY two weeks ago, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Andrew Langa told the nation, through an address in Parliament, he was not going to disband ZIFA. That must have been good news for Cuthbert Dube who believes he is the “saviour” of our football who has used his personal funds to bankroll ZIFA. He also claims he has forged strong alliances with powerful people at FIFA and sits on some of the world’s soccer governing body’s sub-committees.
Our Warriors have become the whipping boys of Africa and even lightweights Tanzania could afford to come and get a result against us at the National Sports Stadium in the AFCON 2015 preliminaries.
We are now ranked 124th in the world and 39th in Africa, even below Lesotho.
We also know that FIFA notified ZIFA last week that it had expelled the Warriors from the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia because of the Valinhos’ debt.
We are aware the ZIFA board is divided and dysfunctional.
The board member (finance) is frustrated after being denied access to the association’s financial records and doesn’t have a clue about the financial goings on at ZIFA.
A member of the finance committee, Joseph Musariri, quit at the weekend, blaming ZIFA chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze, for frustrating and crippling their operations.
It’s on record that ZIFA have no sponsors and no one is willing to go to bed with them.
The only notable sponsor has been Buymore Investments, owned by the ZIFA president.
It is everyone’s knowledge that there has been very little financial support coming from government.
It is also public knowledge that Dube, Mashingaidze and Langa attended the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil. It is, however, unclear who funded Langa’s trip and stay in Brazil.
It’s clear Langa knows something that some of us don’t know about what Cuthbert Dube is doing right at ZIFA.
He has neither publicly reprimanded nor criticised him, either because he feels the goings-on at ZIFA are fine, or he is afraid of taking him on, for whatever reason, we will never know.
Dube has made the ZIFA strategy and financials a myth to the nation.
Only a few sacred individuals know the contents of these two important documents.
However, he still expects us to rally behind him notwithstanding that all we see is a past of complete failure and a gloomy future.
He has been clamouring for government support and at the same time he hasn’t bothered to convince the taxpayers, the most important stakeholders, that he is the right man to give that support to.
Now, that the same FIFA that Dube said were his good mates have just kicked us in the teeth, with their decision to kick the Warriors out of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, what is Dube saying?
The Zimbabwe cricketers, who were at the World Cup, returned home on Monday night after a long flight from New Zealand and, yesterday afternoon, they held a media conference to face questions from journalists and also explain what happened Down Under.
That is what is called professionalism, athletes who feel they owe the nation an explanation because when they were playing at that World Cup, they were representing us.
They might have failed but still they had the courtesy to face the nation.
Now, when you get such respect, from people who are actually playing at the World Cup, why is it that we don’t get similar respect, from a constituency that has just been told that you won’t play at the 2018 World Cup?
Why is it that, exactly one week after FIFA announced their ban, we haven’t seen Dube address a media conference, to answer questions that have been haunting us, so that we try to get a better understanding of what happened to this Valinhos debacle?
He has, as usual, retreated into his shell, from where he never cares to come out and watch even our Division One games, and thinks the storm is going to just pass.
It’s either Dube believes we are all stupid, to the extent that we don’t deserve any answers from him after such a major disaster, or he has become such an untouchable king, or emperor, he knows nothing will happen to him, especially with the minister apparently fighting in his corner.
Did Dube know of this Valinhos thing, since he hasn’t even cared to visit ZIFA House at 53 Livingstone Avenue in the past five years that he has been our football boss, or this information was kept away from him, since he is not a hands-on man, by Mashingaidze?
You can’t blame Mashingaidze, really, because he is just taking advantage of a leader who is not there, when his game wants him, and he knows what to give, and what not to give, to his reclusive boss. Why is it that, even in such a crisis, one gets a feeling that it’s still a Dube/Mashingaidze show, the same people who failed to handle this issue for five years, and they treat it as if it’s their personal issue when it involves an entire national team that represents a whole country?
Dube should not be allowed to hide but he should face some uncomfortable questions, that’s why he is in such a public office, and Langa should not try and provide cover for him.