Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
ZIFA have underlined the seriousness with which they are attaching to the Warriors’ imminent participation at the 2019 African Cup of Nations by appointing a fund-raising committee headed by Zimbabwe Tourism chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke at the weekend.
Kaseke will chair the committee that will be tasked with mobilising resources for all national teams with ZIFA board member finance Philemon Machana as his deputy.
ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa announced Kaseke’s appointment in a statement yesterday and indicated that the association would soon name the other members of the committee.
Chiyangwa also strongly hinted in his statement that they are looking at assembling a crew of eminent persons to work with Kaseke and Machana.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association would want to advise all stakeholders of the appointment of Dr Karikoga Kaseke as the chairperson of the ZIFA national teams fund-raising committee. The appointment is with immediate effect.
“Dr Kaseke is a reputable, well-known, experienced, dedicated and qualified professional who has done so much for the nation and among his exploits have and is still instrumental in marketing destination Zimbabwe and the image of the country.
“Dr Kaseke is not new to football but has previously been involved at different times and in various portfolios.
“As ZIFA we also believe that this new appointment will greatly assist Dr Kaseke to further enhance our sport tourism through football.
“Dr Kaseke shall be deputised by ZIFA board member finance Mr Philemon Machana and the entire committee shall consist of eminent and prominent persons in Zimbabwe,’’ Chiyangwa said.
Chiyangwa said ZIFA were not taking chances in ensuring the Warriors would be adequately prepared and resourced by the time they mark their expected return to the nations Cup show-piece.
Sunday Chidzambwa’s men who lead Group G that includes DRC, Congo and Liberia are just a point away from sealing their place at the Nations Cup jamboree, scheduled for Cameroon in June next year.
“ZIFA realise that its flagship team the Warriors is about to make history by qualifying in a row for the 2019 AFCON games and have tasked the committee to work round the clock to ensure that the team is adequately resourced and prepared for the football showcase.
“AS ZIFA we therefore urge all football stakeholders, current and potential partners or sponsors to positively embrace the committee and assist them in any way that will grow our game,’’ Chiyangwa said.
Kaseke in confirming his acceptance to the post told The Herald that Chiyangwa’s success story with ZIFA and the international game had influenced his decision.
The ZTA boss also noted the significance of football, as the country’s flagship sport, to tourism in the country.
Kaseke is also not new to working with football with his passion for the game and sport in the country at large being well documented.
He has also previously served on the Warriors Trusts on different occasions including the 2004 and 2006 campaigns in Tunisia and Egypt.
His ZTA also helped ZIFA with the upkeep of Brazilian coach Valinhos for the first six months of his stint in the country.
Ironically once ZTA’s six-month deal expired, ZIFA’s problems with Valinhos started and by the time the Brazilian coach left the country, his relations with the association had soured with the gaffer taking his matter up with FIFA.
Zimbabwe were eventually booted out of the draw for the 2018 World Cup after ZIFA failed to settle a $60 000 debt they owed Valinhos and triggered a national outcry. Although he has previously worked with football, Kaseke revealed that he had seen something different in the Chiyangwa leadership and yesterday he lauded the maverick Harare businessman.
Kaseke also felt that his appointment would benefit both ZTA and ZIFA in terms of their objectives.
“I am very happy with this appointment. I have accepted it on the basic principle that I want to join things that are done well.
“I think everybody knows that Philip Chiyangwa has done extremely well ever since he came into ZIFA.
“Chiyangwa has been in office for less than three years but we have qualified for two AFCON tournaments,’’ Kaseke said.
The ZTA boss has also noted a number of highs that Chiyangwa has scored including in boxing promotion, music promotion for which the highlight was bringing the late pop icon Michael Jackson into the country. It has also never been lost to ZTA that Chiyangwa had FIFA president Gianni Infantino in Harare to celebrate the ZIFA boss’ birthday and rise to become COSAFA leader in February last year. The FIFA boss headlined a rich list of football dignitaries which also included a delegation from the world football governing body, football leaders from across the continent, high-profile businesspeople and locals from all walks of life.
Kaseke also said the success of the various national teams had a huge bearing on tourism in the country.
“The success of national teams is very central for our sports tourism and football is an integral part of our people, it has the biggest following in the country.
“I accepted the appointment on the strength that this ZIFA is very successful under Chiyangwa and anyone who knows football known what this man has done in football not only in Zimbabwe but on the international stage as seen by his rise in COSAFA and the battle he fought at CAF.
“I will support this man and it is also very strategic for us in terms of tourism to partner with sports.
“So it’s not only ZIFA that we are working with, any sport association that wants to work with us we will engage them.
“We are already working with Zimbabwe Rugby Union and Zimbabwe Cricket and tourism is the mirror through which the image of this country is seen,’’ Kaseke said.