Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Zifa suffer Afcon loss

By Petros Kausiyo

Zimbabwe’s qualification for the 2017 African Cup of Nations may have lifted the country’s football profile, but the Warriors prize money from the tournament has done little to improve cash-strapped ZIFA’s coffers.

Zifa Village

The Warriors were eliminated at the first round stage of the biennial soccer showcase, earning $475 000, which the Confederation of African Football set aside as the prize for the teams that finished bottom at the group stages.

ZIFA yesterday revealed there would be no further financial windfall for the 23 players who travelled to Gabon with the association seeking to use the money that will come from CAF to offset debts and also set aside some money for kick-starting the 2019 Nations Cup qualifiers which will start in June.

The association paid each player an appearance fee of $5 000 for each of the three group games against Algeria, Senegal and Tunisia and another $3 000 each for the 2-2 draw against the Algerians.

But that was the only point the Warriors managed from the tournament as they bowed out without a win.

With CAF having sealed a new sponsorship deal with French petroleum company Total, there was a significant increase in the prize money, which the continental soccer body will give out from this competition with the teams that finished bottom from their groups getting an 18 percent rise in revenue.

The two losing semi-finalists will each get $1,5 million with the 2017 Nations Cup runners poised to get $2 million – which is also double what the 2015 losing finalists were paid.

There is a cool $4 million cheque awaiting this year’s winners, up from the $1,5million that Cote d’Ivoire made when claiming the title two years ago in Equatorial Guinea.

ZIFA had, however, set the Warriors a target of at least reaching the quarter-final stage, which would have earned the association $800 000, but Callisto Pasuwa’s men could not find their place among the last eight with Senegal and Tunisia advancing from Group B.

Such were the confidence levels in both the Warriors dressing room and the ZIFA administrative corridors that the two parties had struck a deal in which the players were to get 40 percent of the prize money with 60 percent going to the association only in the event that they had reached the quarter-finals, semi-final or final.

ZIFA board member for finance Philemon Machana, yesterday revealed that despite the bottom teams set to earn $475 000 there was no major windfall to smile about for his association.

Machana said ZIFA had already received part of the $475 000 from CAF which they used as part of the Warriors preparations in the build up to the trip to Gabon.

The ZIFA finance guru said they were now expecting $237 000 from CAF from which $70 000 will be gobbled by hotel expenses for the Warriors’ training camp.

“While it is correct to say that the prizes for the teams that will finish bottom of their groups get $475 000 it is not what we will get. We are expecting $237 000 which is more or less 50 percent of what came to us before the tournament and was to be used for preparations.

“That is the money that we used for the friendly matches against Zambia and Tanzania and other logistics related to the team’s preparations.

“So the money that we are now expecting from CAF will be redeployed for other uses which include paying Rainbow Towers the $70 000 that we owe them for the camping.

“That is quite a huge figure for accommodation and this is why we were advocating for the team to camp at the ZIFA Village, but the players snubbed that place and when you look back you can see that it is money that could now have been going into their pockets, but they felt ZIFA Village was sub-standard,” Machana said.

Machana said he had noted with concern that while the Warriors had decried the facilities at the ZIFA Village, CAF had booked them into a hotel “whose facilities do not come anywhere near to what we have at the refurbished ZIFA Village.

“The lodgings they stayed in Libreville for their final group game did not come anywhere near to the facilities they rejected at the ZIFA Village and had they heeded to our call we could have saved $70 000.

“I still find it strange too that the same players who were prepared to stay at the sub-standard facilities provided by CAF in Libreville could not compromise and stay at the ZIFA Village.

“Unlike here where some Good Samaritan clandestinely booked them at Holiday Inn without consulting with ZIFA, in Gabon there was no such facility and they had to make do with what CAF gave them and they accepted the conditions.

“CAF, in their wisdom, knew that even super players some of whom were flown in private jets would be staying there and I am sure the players saw for themselves that the ZIFA Village was not as bad as they portrayed it and that is why their coach stayed there and the coaches who are doing a CAF licence have been staying there,” Machana said.

Machana also called for a paradigm shift in the way ZIFA conduct business with national teams and said it was imperative that the association reviewed the contracts they enter with players for various international assignments.

The Harare businessman said this would ensure that the agreements are signed prior to the start of each camp “to avoid some embarrassing scenes like the one we witnessed when the Warriors snubbed a farewell dinner organised for them by the Government”.

“We should not have this culture of holding the administration to ransom because at times some of the demands eventually prove costly to both the players and the association,” Machana said. The Herald

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