By Langton Nyakwenda
ZIFA councillors were left purring after the association parcelled out equipment and for the first time in the history of the domestic game injected finances into all its affiliates, including the Premier Soccer League.
It emerged from the first annual meeting held under the leadership of Felton Kamambo in Harare yesterday that the board had broken with tradition and would share some of the FIFA Forward funds with the affiliate bodies.
Yet the indaba had suffered a number of postponements before eventually being staged yesterday.
After two hours of deliberations most councillors emerged from the conference of a Harare hotel a satisfied lot.
ZIFA’s four regions (Northern, Eastern, Central and Southern) received a financial injection of $40 000 while the provinces and women’s regions got $30 000 and $20 000 respectively.
Area Zones received $20 000 with tertiary and futsal also getting the same amount.
All the 18 Premier Soccer League clubs got 10 balls each with a market value of about US$200 each.
“Today was our first AGM, we had a fruitful discussion with the Congress where we briefed them on our achievements to date and where we want to take our football going forward,” Kamambo told the media after the meeting.
“At the same time we also bought some equipment for all our affiliates. Each and every affiliate of ZIFA will receive some football equipment.
“ZIFA as the head office will also channel some funding to all our affiliates, it could be a small amount but it’s the idea that counts, it’s also historic that ZIFA is going to give some funds to its affiliates and these are just the first steps of the journey.”
The Congress also amended the ZIFA statutes to qualify the PSL as a member of the assembly with its elected chairman automatically becoming a member of the ZIFA board.
“The amendment was basically in relation to Article 10 section 1(a) and also Article 32 section 1 of the ZIFA Statutes.
“What it means is that PSL is also now a member (of the Congress) together with its clubs meaning to say that under the current statutes it was the clubs that the members of ZIFA but now PSL consisting of its clubs is now a member.
“With regards to representation in the ZIFA executive committee, the PSL chairman will now be a member representing the PSL clubs,” said Kamambo.
The move was welcomed by PSL chairman Farai Jere who will however have to wait longer before his push for a season changeover is adopted by the Congress.
“As PSL we are excited by the change of statutes for the PSL to be a member of the ZIFA Assembly which has been a bone of contention for a long time.
“But as for the change of season, in our last resolution there are some consultations which should have been done which we did not do, it’s something that should be done now.
“The Congress resolved that we should do countrywide consultations and we are going to do that,” said Jere.
The PSL chairman has been pushing for season changeover from the current March-November to the international August-May calendar.
ZIFA’s move to provide funding and equipment for all its affiliates was welcomed by National Association for Primary Heads (NAPH) chairman Elton Sinyosi.
“I was very happy, the meeting took very short usually we would go up to 5, the discussions were very fruitful and we are going to benefit a lot.
“We have been given football equipment, cones, trophies and the like which will help us. Our wish was always for ZIFA to help us because we are the grassroots. All along they have been starting up there, but if they start from grassroots everything will be okay in football,” said Sinyosi.
In its bid to revive junior football, ZIFA yesterday announced that national youths leagues across all provinces will commence in August.
“The other approval is that of our Youth League which is going to kick off in August, and as ZIFA we also got equipment for all the youth league teams including the uniforms for the clubs that will participate.
“Even the PSL, if they have youth teams they are also going to get that equipment,” said Kamambo.
The 2018 audited financial accounts were also adopted at yesterday’s meeting with Philemon Machana, the association’s finance guru, revealing ZIFA had moved miles towards clearing a legacy debt that had soared to over $7 million.
“We have gone $2 million in terms of payments so our debt now should be around $5 million,” said Machana.
“We have started with what we call priority creditors, former ZIFA employees make this list, we have engaged each and every ex-employee of ZIFA one by one and of course we agreed on a payment plan, we have begun the payments,” Machana said. The case of suspended ZIFA vice president Gift Banda was not discussed in the Congress “as the case is already within the judicial process.”
Banda, who was a runaway winner in the battle for the ZIFA vice-presidency, was suspended on January 16 for allegedly reshuffling the Warriors technical team without the blessing of the board. Sunday Mail