With clubs struggling to survive after the football season failed to kick off in March due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, they were hoping to get a stimulus package from Zifa.
The association should be in a position to provide this relief aid after they received US$500 000 from Fifa and US$200 000 from the Confederation of African Football (Caf).
Zifa is also set to get a further US$1,5 million from Fifa while Caf will chip in with US$300 000 as they have realised that member associations need to be cushioned from the financial implications created by the Covid-19.
Initially, Zifa president Felton Kamambo had promised to provide relief aid to clubs, women’s football, referees and affiliates by June 20.
However, the association reneged on that promise, saying they needed more consultations and yesterday’s meeting should have provided more clarity on the way forward.
Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela revealed that the meeting had been cancelled without giving any reasons.
“There was a joint meeting of the Zifa competitions and sports medicine committee on how to return to safe football activity,” Gwesela told the Daily News on Sunday.
“We came up with recommendations which will be submitted to the Zifa executive committee which meets later next week. As you are aware these are just standing committees, they just recommend and ultimate decisions lie with Exco. A statement will be issued after the Exco meeting.”
What has disappointed clubs and other affiliates is the fact that other football associations in the region have already disbursed the first tranche of payments to the relevant recipients.
Local clubs generate their revenue from mostly gate receipts and with no football taking place since March; they are now in a financial quagmire.
Most teams are on the verge of collapse as they have massive overheads like players, coaches and front office staff salaries to pay.
Already at CAPS United, there has been a mutiny with players threatening club co-director Nhamo Tutisani with violence over outstanding salaries last month.
With the continental game now making plans for a possible restart, the Caf medical committee recently released a 27-page document detailing the health protocols to be followed.
One of the things emphasised in the dossier is the issue of living and working conditions of players.
“It is clear that the federations must first ensure that the players’ salary situation is favourable for any resumption of training and competition activities. Likewise, psychological assistance should be offered to teams and players,” Caf said.
This means that Zifa must ensure that all clubs have paid their players before any resumption of training and competitions but the association is dithering on providing this bailout package.
Teams will also need money to implement some of the recommendations from Caf like regular Covid-19 testing of players and coaches.
“All players, referees and managers who return to football must be tested for Covid-19 in order to safeguard and strengthen the psychological confidence within the team and the environment,” reads the document.
“The first test to be performed 72 hours before resuming football activities to prevent false negatives (asymptomatic carriers of the virus). The second test to perform before the start of the first session.”
All this will require a lot of money which is why Fifa and Caf have been proactive by providing member associations with coronavirus relief packages.
But in Zimbabwe’s case, Zifa is not playing ball while clubs and their affiliates face an uncertain future.