Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
UNDER-FIRE ZIFA were rocked yesterday after President Mugabe condemned the culture of greed prevalent among the country’s football leaders in the wake of stunning allegations there was a looting spree of funds generated from gate receipts during the 2017 Nations Cup qualifier between Zimbabwe and Guinea at Rufaro.
ZIFA declared a $12 481 loss despite saying they realised more than $88 000 from gate receipts, with the association claiming that virtually all their earnings went to service various debts and payments in appearance fees and allowances to the Warriors.
However, a number of irregularities have been noted, in the income/expenditure statement that was released by ZIFA last week, after it emerged that some of the service providers, which ZIFA claimed to have paid leaving them with a loss, were not paid as reported.
ZIFA claimed they paid $12 500, from the gate receipts, towards the cost of air tickets to bring foreign-based Warriors and match officials, to Harare for the match, but The Herald has since established that the amount was not paid to the person who loaned the association.
In fact, instead of $12 500, the cost of bringing the foreign-based Warriors and match officials was not $12 500, but $11 095 which was paid directly to a travel agent.
ZIFA said in their income and expenditure statement that they paid $3 000 towards the hiring of buses used by the Warriors and Guinea, but Herentals College, who provided the buses, drivers and fuel, as part of their contribution to a national cause, rejected claims that they were paid.
It was also revealed that four ZIFA board members paid themselves $2 800, signed off as “board expenses”, from the gate receipts while a further $1 200 in travel and substance costs with Fungai Chihuri, the ZIFA Finance Committee boss, signing off both transactions.
Questions are now being asked about the cost of camping for the Warriors, with ZIFA saying they paid $12 000 towards that, which would mean that a room at Daisy Lodge in the capital, where the team was camped, was costing about $150 a day for the duration of their camp.
Such rates would be higher than what ZIFA would have even have got should they have decided to take the Warriors to even a five-star hotel for the Warriors camp.
There are fears that even the gross income, which ZIFA declared, was not a true reflection of what they received from gate receipts on the day in question, while reports have also been persistent that a ZIFA board member took $30 000 from the cash room, but only $22 000 ended up being given to the Warriors.
Yesterday, President Mugabe, speaking at a luncheon hosted by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing on the occasion of the official opening of the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament, said the events at ZIFA left a lot to be desired and needed to be condemned.
“And you get a person paying himself even from an organisation, social organisation like a football club, paying himself thousands and thousands, $150 000, they say,” said the President.
“I have not believed it, uyu anonzi ani, Dube? (Cuthbert Dube, ZIFA president) he gets how much? (some of the guests are heard saying $500 000) . . . ah. Isu tirikuti ‘no’, we are not yet as well developed, when you get that amount where do you think it’s coming from? Gate takings, people pay in order to see soccer and you don’t even have the conscience of saying ‘no this is wrong,’ you say ‘no I am entitled to it,’ ah . . . now it is nhafu yorudzi irworu, that kind of greed that we cannot have in the country.
“So, as we move forward, let’s straighten our ways of interacting, of treating each other, of handling each other’s properties, of treating each other generally.
“That’s what Paul talks about as charity first, Corinthians it talks of charity, if you don’t have charity unenge demhe zvaro, an empty brass.”
It also emerged last night that the Sports Commission have now ordered ZIFA to come with their income and expenditure statement today and account for every cent that came from gate receipts from the match between Zimbabwe and Guinea at Rufaro last week.
Sports Minister, Andrew Langa, last week said he would summon the ZIFA board to explain why there was such a national outcry over the income/expenditure statement that they published and he might have decided that the Sports Commission handle that assignment.
Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association president, Eddie Chivero, piled on the pressure on the ZIFA leaders when he filed a report with the police in Bulawayo claiming there were incidences of fraud, perpetrated by the Association’s bosses, after the Nations Cup qualifier against Guinea.
Chivero said while the ZIFA board members could claim they were entitled to the money, the fact that the funds they took were not reflected in the official income/expenditure statement, meant that the whole exercise was a fraudulent act which was meant to deceive the nation that the Association ran a loss when, in reality, they could have posted a profit from the game.
The income and expenditure statement also, curiously, does not make any mention of the $20 000 which PHD Ministries leader, Prophet Walter Magaya, donated to the Warriors after players threatened to boycott the game against Guinea over unpaid bonuses on the morning of the game.