CASTLE Lager Premiership teams are now on edge as the proposed bailout from the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) is yet to come through.
Zifa president Felton Kamambo earlier this month promised to pay out a stimulus package to all the top flight teams and women’s football which would cushion them from the financial challenges they are facing due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Zifa is currently siting on US$700 000 received from Fifa, which was aimed at helping the association combat the crisis caused by coronavirus and received a further US$200 000 from the Confederation of African Football (Caf) for the same purposes.
Most associations on the continent and around the world have moved quickly to distribute the money to their clubs to cushion them against the loses during these tough times.
Kamambo had set June 20 as the deadline for which the association would have come up with a concrete package and payments would have followed thereafter.
However, that deadline arrived and went by with no word from Zifa regarding the bailout package which most teams were now looking forward to.
Zifa president Kamambo was not picking his phone while the association’s communications manager Xolisani Gwesela said they are still seized with the matter.
“We are still working on it. We will publicise details when it’s appropriate,” Gwesela said without giving any further information.
The association’s inertia has now left most clubs in a spot of bother as they no longer know where to turn to during this crisis.
“What I’m seeing is an association that is not taking this pandemic seriously,” an official from one PSL club told the Daily News yesterday.
“It seems some people are not aware of the effects that have been caused by this pandemic. The damages are real and it needs swift intervention. You wonder if these Zifa officials are really football people; what are they still waiting for?
“Most clubs are in dire situations and need help as soon as possible. Now we don’t know if the association meant what they told us or it was just another lip service from them.”
Most local clubs have no solid financial blue-print as they largely depend on gate-takings for survival and with no matches taking place that revenue stream has long dried up.
The 2020 season should have commenced in March but it had to be suspended indefinitely due to the nationwide lockdown currently imposed by the government to stop the spread of the virus.
The government announced that the lockdown will continue for the foreseeable future and remaining afloat for most clubs during such times with a lot of uncertainty is now a big challenge.
“My understanding is that they have the money and why they are delaying I don’t know,” another club official added.
“Of course, we are aware that the money was not meant for clubs but since they saw it fit, I think it’s only proper that they keep their word. To me this is supposed to be a priority to any serious football person because things are really bad.”
The dire situation at most teams was laid bare last month when Highlanders and CAPS United players were presented groceries by well-wishers.
At Makepekepe things reached boiling point two weeks ago when the players stormed the business premises of club co-director Nhamo Tutisani demanding their outstanding salaries. Riot police had to be called in to calm the situation as tempers flared between Tutisani and members of the squad.