By Ricky Zililo
ZIFA has positioned itself to receive US$4 million from Fifa after signing a contract for agreed projections.
Once released, the funds will cater for the construction of a hotel and a state-of-the-art headquarters for the association that will have a gym, football fields that can be used by five-aside teams and beach footballers.
Zifa president, Felton Kamambo, has previously stated that the hotel they want to build will accommodate national teams at any given time, enabling the association to avoid expenses related to camping at other hotels.
The hotel will also be used to generate funds for the association, as it will also be opened to private clients once fully operational.
Zifa board member responsible for finance Phillemon Machana told Chronicle Sport that giant leaps had been taken to get the ball running and implementing the projects that will help the embattled association generate income as well as creating employment.
Machana described signing of the contract with Fifa as a major milestone for Zifa and a clear indication that the association has the confidence of the world’s governing football body.
“We had a meeting with Fifa representatives recently in South Africa where we signed a contract for agreed projections, which basically was laying the foundation for us to access Fifa money for projects.
“This is a major milestone for Zimbabwe because signing of the contract for agreed projections doesn’t only express Fifa’s commitment, but also shows that Fifa are seeing something positive in Zimbabwean football.
“This also means that we can start to apply for funds to pursue projects to do with infrastructure development and other income generating projects,” said Machana.
“What’s worth noting is that we once signed a Fifa contract for projections when Philip Chiyangwa was Zifa president, but we didn’t pursue the funding of about US$2.5 million which we were supposed to access because we felt that we hadn’t covered enough ground.
“This time we’ve done our ground work and we will apply for the funds to kick start the projects in June. We stand to get $4 million from Fifa this year, including the funds we’ve received and used for specified programmes that we started earlier.”
At the beginning of the year, Zifa received about US$200 000 from Fifa and Machana said women’s football, referees and technical development committees benefited from it.
Some of the money was also used to pay auditors that have been working on financials to be presented at the May 25 AGM.
The Young Warriors, who progressed to the final round of the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers at the National Sports Stadium after beating Mozambique in March, were also financed through the funds accessed from Fifa. Zimbabwe will play South Africa in the third and final round of the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier later this year.
The money also covered for the Zifa board and councillors’ induction workshop facilitated by former Fifa top official for Africa Ashford Mamelodi.
Machana, who joined Zifa in 2015 and says the national association has never failed to access its yearly grants from Fifa, added that they intend to build regional offices in two of the four Zifa regions, Eastern and Central, to decentralise operations.
“We want to build a new head office, acquire or build offices for Central and Eastern Regions. The Southern Region is already using offices owned by Zifa and once the head office moves to the newly acquired area, the present 53 Livingstone Avenue office in Harare will be used by the Northern Region,” said Machana.
He is expected to brief Zifa councillors about this development when he presents the association’s financials at the AGM in Harare tomorrow. The Chronicle