Clubs feel the pinch. . . as Zifa remains mum on bailout package for PSL  

Godknows Matarutse

TODAY marks exactly 13 days from the deadline by which Zifa had promised to avail a relief package to cushion clubs from the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus (Covid-19).

The Daily News will now be running a ticker counting the days since this deadline elapsed until Zifa honours it’s pledge to help save clubs from financial ruin.
The association’s president Felton Kamambo promised to bail out Premier Soccer League (PSL) teams after Zifa had received a stimulus package from Fifa and the Confederation of African Football (Caf).
Initially, Fifa provided a relief package of US$500 000 to all its member associations while Caf chipped in with US$200 000.
The two organisations have in recent days approved a further payment to all football associations with Zifa set to get another US$1,5 million from Fifa and US$300 000 from Caf.
Other associations in the region have already begun paying out relief aid to clubs, players, coaches, referees and women’s football.
The 2020 Castle Lager Premiership campaign should have commenced in March but with a nationwide lockdown in place, those plans had to be shelved.
Local clubs that heavily rely on gate takings to fund their operations are now suffering four months down the line.
The country’s biggest and most successful club Dynamos are also not immune to the financial impact created by the novel virus.
“What I can say is that our sponsors are taking care of players’ salaries mainly. But in terms of other things… we really need extra support,” DeMbare chairperson Isiah Mupfurutsa told the Daily News.
“Just like I said before, this pandemic has affected most businesses including that of our sponsors and it’s hard for everyone.
“So, we certainly need additional support. There are a lot of things that need to be done especially if the league is to go ahead and it needs a lot of money.
“For instance, things to do with player testing and sanitisers; the list is endless. If we get money from Zifa it will be most welcome. We are already in a critical situation.
“We have our budget but it has been strained. I’m just hoping that Zifa will speed up the process and bail out clubs because it’s not looking okay.”
Recently, Bulawayo giants Highlanders had to be bailed out by the Apostolic sect Johane Masowe Chishanu, who donated 60 bags of 10kg mealie-meal and 150kg of rice to help feed their players during this crisis.
“Having not been involved in any income generating project during the lockdown, we are obviously affected, just like any other business,” Highlanders communications manager Ronald Moyo told the Daily News.
A club official, who spoke to the Daily News on the condition of anonymity, said: “It’s really sad. Things are bad and we have an association sitting there watching. Why is Zifa not prioritising football, I don’t know.”
Surprisingly, CAPS United president Farai Jere is not concerned with the delay in Zifa releasing the bailout package to clubs.
“The money is coming, definitely,” Jere, who also sits on the Zifa board, told the Daily News.
Last month, CAPS players besieged the business premises of club vice-president Nhamo Tutisani and caused an ugly scene as they demanded their outstanding three months’ salaries.
In the end, riot police had to be called in to disperse the rowdy players as they threatened to stage a sleep-in at Tutisani’s offices.
Before the mutiny, Makepekepe players had to be bailed out by Harare socialite Wanisai Mutandwa through her Mahwindo Foundation, when she donated several groceries ranging from salt, sugar, mealie-meal, cooking oil and other items to the club.

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