Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube says he has injected a staggering $1 million of his personal funds into domestic football since he assumed leadership of the country’s national game five years ago, to oil the sport’s various operations.
The Harare business executive, who has been handing out unsecured loans to oil the Association’s operations since he won the ZIFA presidency in March 2010, faces a revolt from some dejected Councillors who want to revoke his mandate to lead the game at an extra-ordinary meeting scheduled for October 3.
Dube says those opposed to his leadership are selfish individuals, bent on gate-crashing into football leadership, who are obsessed with not only dividing but weakening Zimbabwe football.
Addressing Harare province delegates at Raylton Sports Club in Harare at the weekend, the first port of call of a nationwide tour, Dube described himself as a humble servant of the game.
“We cannot afford to let the game regress to the Dark Ages, given our mandate to ensure that the game should always triumph over all else,” Dube said.
“As president of ZIFA, it is my humble obligation to meet you and appreciate issues you want addressed. We should never allow our game to be divided by selfish individuals bent on gate-crashing into football leadership.
“It is my hope that this tour will create an everlasting bonding between my person and yourselves. I am your humble servant who has always put your interests on the top priority rung ahead of all else.
“My mandate remains your prized possession and no one else but yourselves should call me to order should I be found on the wrong side of things.
“I must admit that it has not been an easy stroll in the park for me, ever since I took over as ZIFA president. Who could find it easy to contend with a game heavily weighed down by match-fixing, general polarisation and, above all, stagnation?
“I took over a run-down institution whose debts were mainly to do with national teams and general administration. I was never afforded a hand-over, take-over, but I had to soldier on.
“Those who had ignominiously left football, before my tenure, conspired to make my tenure very difficult to manage.”
Dube said he took over an Association that did not have any resources, or sponsors, to fund its operations.
“ZIFA had no sponsors, ZIFA had no resources to use, ZIFA was an empty shell and my conscience drove me to use my own family resources to make football a going concern. I had to expend my own resources to support ZIFA’s operations at a time when the economy was under siege,” Dube said.
“I will never regret helping out my nation’s number one sport in the hour of great need. To date, I have put in close to a million dollars into Zimbabwean football and I am prepared to continue serving the game I love, a game which touches the lives of millions of Zimbabweans across the length and breadth of the globe.
“I have been supporting Zimbabwean football through quarterly grants, scholarships and seed equipment.
“I will not stop supporting this province and Zimbabwe at large. Zimbabwe football is not poor but it is impoverished by our weak attributes.
“If Zimbabweans were to have unity of purpose, our game and the nation at large would be bigger than what it is now.”
Dube said ZIFA needed to implement their four-year plan shoes seven key result areas would be finance, development, administration, competition, marketing and communication, legal and statutes and capacity building.
He saluted Harare province for setting the pace in the game, describing it as a paragon of excellence, professionalism and football growth and urged its leadership not to be sucked into the movement to revoke his mandate as ZIFA president.
“Harare province should never allow our detractors to turn back the wheels of progress. Our province has some individuals who have been investing their energies in turning football ungovernable,” said Dube.
“Some individuals have had to trade under the name Football Legends in a bid to derail football’s growth and, to date, there is a sustained campaign by the same individuals to have my tenure abruptly ended.
“A vote-of-no-confidence is already in circulation, concealed under a clause christened revocation, and it is public knowledge that those driving the agenda had their candidates in 2014 failing to wrestle the reigns of football leadership from us.
“There are individuals who are working round the clock to have the 3rd of October 2015 as the day when an elected leadership is ousted and this can only happen if, and only if, this province endorses such an act.
“It is up to this province to allow football to suffocate under greed and selfish interests. ZIFA is not an open cast mine and those who dream of picking loose goodies from football should relocate to some other stations since football is all about serving the people’s game.”
Dube also urged the media to play its role in a responsible manner.
“It is my humble plea to the media to play their role responsibly. At no point should our media be engrossed with ZIFA power games as well as boardroom coups,” Dube said.
“Media is an agent for development and we pray that the position remains so. Of late there is a report on the state of football in Zimbabwe that is being serialised by one media publication (The Herald).
“The position of ZIFA is that the report has no input from ZIFA and up until ZIFA tells it, as it is, only then shall we have a final report.
“Those responsible for the leakage, or whatever case might be, should be held accountable for perpetuating anarchy in our game. The game deserves a break.”