‘Zifa lying to clubs on bailout plans’

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Godknows Matarutse
SPORTS WRITER
matarutseg@dailynews.co.zw

ZIFA president Felton Kamambo and his board have been accused of not taking seriously the severity of the financial crisis currently being faced by the top flight clubs during this current coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Zifa is currently sitting on at least US$700 000 after receiving US$500 000 from Fifa and US$200 000 from the Confederation of African Football (Caf) respectively as a stimulus package to protect the game against the novel virus.

Most associations on the continent and across the world, have used these payments to fund their bailout packages for teams, women, football, referees and coaches in their respective countries.

Initially, Zifa had said it will not bailout local teams that are currently struggling due to the nationwide lockdown which has been in place since March 30.

However, Kamambo later reversed the decision and announced that it would give teams a payout by June 20.
That deadline came and went by with Zifa insisting that they are still working on the modalities of the stimulus package.

While Zifa dither on the matter, on the ground teams are struggling as evidenced by what transpired at CAPS United earlier this month when players clashed with club co-director Nhamo Tutisani over outstanding salaries.

Manica Diamond players have also gone for three months without salaries and many have already handed in transfer requests.

Former Warriors and Bidvest Wits winger Alois Bunjira accused the current leadership of being insincere and greedy regarding their failure to help clubs in such desperate times.

“I think in the last couple of decades football in Zimbabwe has been run by people only looking for money. There is nothing wrong in making money in football professionally and legally while developing football,” Bunjira told the Daily News.

“The money that Zifa got seems to have other plans. That announcement was probably made because stakeholders were making noise. It was not genuine and definitely there was no concern on the part of Zifa.”
Bunjira, who has announced his candidacy for Zifa president in 2022, said the association is preoccupied with boardroom battles instead of saving the game.

“You can actually see that their priority right now is not football but that fight against Gift Banda and how they can craft a new constitution to protect themselves and the loot. So yes, I don’t think they were very serious about bailing out the clubs,” lamented Bunjira.

Zifa is currently involved in a nasty legal battle with suspended vice president Banda since February 2019. Prominent Warriors and Dynamos fan Chris “Romario” Musekiwa said Zifa and the Premier Soccer League need to be at the forefront of mitigating the financial losses clubs are facing.

“Clubs must establish emergency investments that will cater for players in such difficult times when natural disasters occur,” Musekiwa said.

“More importantly, Zifa and PSL should find each other and see how best they can assist players facing difficulties as a result of the lockdown. Football was their only livelihood and they urgently need some financial support; football should be the winner at the end of the day.”‘

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