Women’s football bailout delayed  

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Godknows Matarutse
SPORTS WRITER
matarutseg@dailynews.co.zw

ALTHOUGH the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) received funds meant to cushion women’s football from effects of the coronavirus (Covid-19), the intended recipients are yet to receive the amounts.

Zifa was granted a Covid-19 relief aid package worth US$2,5 million by both Fifa and the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to help the game stay afloat.
Fifa explicitly pointed out that the US$500 000 will have to be channelled towards the women’s game during this pandemic.
While Zifa women’s football boss Barbra Chikosi refused to comment on the matter, the situation in the regions paints a bad picture.
Zifa Southern Region Women’s Football chairperson Takundwa Chimundiya told the Daily News they are yet to receive any funds.
“We haven’t received anything yet. We are only hearing it from the press that money has been distributed but nothing has reached our region so far. We are actually looking forward to receive our share,” Chimundiya said.
It is also the same scenario with the Northern Region where chairperson Peter Gonyora said they were still waiting to receive their disbursements.
“We are yet to receive the money. We are still waiting for Zifa to distribute the money. We were only told they will give us the money. I understand they are dealing with PSL clubs for now while working on modalities for teams in other leagues.”

 

What has made the situation deplorable is the fact that Zifa has announced they will be converting the money into the volatile local currency which is now officially trading at 1:68 with the US dollar.
However, the rate is much higher on the parallel market where US$1 is fetching as high as $100.
This disparity in the exchange rate has resulted in Zimbabwe slipping back into the era of runaway inflation.
ZimStat recently revealed figures of 785 percent as the average inflation between May 2020 and May 2019.
By the time Zifa finally transfers the amounts to women’s football there is a high possibility the relief aid would have been eroded by inflation.
Instead of converting the relief aid into volatile local currency, the ideal situation was for the association to transfer money into their affiliates’ nostro accounts.
Zimbabwe is slowly redollarising with legislation now making it possible for financial transactions to be completed in US dollars.
While the regions are yet to get any aid, Zifa has in the meantime directly deposited funds into the Zimbabwe Women’s Super League accounts.
This has also created confusion as the clubs have not been given any official communication on the amounts they are supposed to receive.
Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said the association was doing everything above board in terms of how they are distributing the Covid-19 relief aid to women’s football.
“Zifa takes pride in the emancipation of women through football.
“The Zifa executive committee have an open-door policy and would like to make it clear that women will benefit from the
$500 000 that was allocated by Fifa to women,” Gwesela said.
“Any aggrieved parties are free to approach Zifa offices for clarification.”
The 2020 local football season should have commenced in March but it had to be cancelled after the government declared a nationwide lockdown due to the Covid-19.
Four months down the line, the lockdown is still in place and for the season to be allowed to commence,  football authorities must satisfy rigorous health protocols first.
Players, officials and all those going to be involved in the matches will have to be tested for coronavirus on a regular basis.

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