A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY FOR ZIFAIshemunyoro Chingwere Sports Reporter
THE GOVERNMENT has said ZIFA has presented itself with a golden opportunity to reinvent and take a developmental trajectory after the association’s extraordinary general meeting revoked the mandate of the Cuthbert Dube-led board on Saturday.

Dube had on Friday announced that he had resigned from his post as ZIFA president and would only step down on December 5 to allow for a smooth handover takeover but on Saturday, the Assembly decided to recall him together with the entire board immediately.

In fact, on Saturday, 51 councillors voted to remove the unpopular Dube as ZIFA president while three voted for him to remain in office and as a result his mandate was revoked and he could not stay on until December 5.

Speaking to The Herald on Saturday night after meeting the FIFA delegation that attended the watershed indaba, the Minister of Sport and Recreation, Makhosini Hlongwane, said this development is an opportunity ZIFA must use to rebrand and refocus.

“As Government we think that ZIFA has provided itself with an opportunity to reconstruct the architecture of football in Zimbabwe. It has given itself an opportunity to start afresh.

“ZIFA must use this opportunity that has been presented to them and not miss it. There are key fundamentals that we think need to be taken care of and we are in agreement with our colleagues at FIFA as far as those issues are concerned.

“Issues of how the organisational structure at ZIFA has been run both from a point of view of governance and compliance and also from a point of view of simple efficiency, it has left a lot to be desired and those are areas that need to be concentrated on.

“ZIFA has dealt with its issues today (Saturday). It has had the courage to do so, it has had the wisdom to do so and as Government we think that it has provided itself with an opportunity to reinvent itself.

“We will come in as Government and assist them in conjunction and in collaboration with our colleagues at FIFA,” Hlongwane said.

Hlongwane also said that the “no money no football development” hymn which had been popularised by the Dube-led administration was a result of the ills at ZIFA, and the Government, just like the corporate world, and FIFA, cannot just pump in money into a misgoverned organisation.

He said the same values that are needed to unlock corporates’ purse are the same that will jolt the Government into sponsoring football.

“FIFA say they are no longer putting money into ZIFA now obviously because of lack of transparency, so the first and immediate question is why then should the Government be funding the same organisation that FIFA is failing to fund when FIFA is the direct mother body of football in the world?

“The same principles that the corporate world and FIFA are looking at are the same principles that the Government wants to see in place. It’s the same element, if there is no accountability the Government will ordinarily be nervous about putting money into such an organisation,” he said.

The minister warned all those interested in taking over from Dube after the elections scheduled before December 5 saying they must be proven administrators with an honest and clean image.

“Let me say that anybody who is contemplating to come into football going forward must be very clear that we are not going to entertain the rot that has been going on at ZIFA for the last couple of years. That we are not going to entertain and we are going to nip it in the bud once we see the signs,” Hlongwane said.