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Zifa leaders defend funds movement

ZIFA president Felton Kamambo yesterday defended his association’s decision to shelve FIFA fans in the accounts of an association executive board member and also rejected claims his leadership took their girlfriends to the 2019 AFCON finals instead of genuine Warriors fans.

SOLDERING ON . . . ZIFA president Felton Kamambo (centre), flanked by board members Farai Jere (left) and Philemon Machana, addresses the media in Harare yesterday where he said the fierce criticism he has received in his first nine months in office will make him a better leader of the country’s national sporting discipline
SOLDERING ON . . . ZIFA president Felton Kamambo (centre), flanked by board members Farai Jere (left) and Philemon Machana, addresses the media in Harare yesterday where he said the fierce criticism he has received in his first nine months in office will make him a better leader of the country’s national sporting discipline

Kamambo appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Recreation in the company of ZIFA acting vice-chairman, Philemon Machana, and the association’s spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela.

The ZIFA leaders’ appearances before the committee had been postponed, for a number of reasons, in the past but yesterday the country’s football leaders faced the legislators who were demanding a number of answers to issues that have dominated the running of the national sport.

Kamambo told the committee that, indeed, funds from FIFA were moved from the association’s bank accounts to bank accounts belonging to a board member, Machana, through his company Conduit Holdings.

However, the ZIFA boss said the transaction was done to safeguard the funds, after they had received a tip-off that their bank account would be garnished, which would have seen funds, channelled into the association from FIFA for development purposes, being gobbled by other activities.

“Some of these moneys found themselves into the accounts of individual ZIFA members, that is true chairman, I must admit,’’ Kamambo said.

“Our intelligence had shown that the account was going to be garnished and FIFA money cannot be used to pay legacy debt.

“Once that is done, they (FIFA) will stop supporting Zimbabwe (financially).’’

Kamambo also rejected claims that the ZIFA board flew their girlfriends to Egypt, for the AFCON finals, instead of the fans who were supposed to back the Warriors.

“We had councillors who went there, our councillors, we wanted them to support the team,’’ said Kamambo. “At the same time, there was need for benchmarking.

“Our intention is that one day we will also be hosting AFCON.

‘’The supporters that went to AFCON, each Premier League club was represented by supporters. In terms of girlfriends, we were not sure whether, among the supporters, there were people who were in love.’’ Mhondoro-Ngezi legislator, Tavengwa Mukuhlani, said the committee didn’t have any problem with whoever ZIFA chose to take to such events like the AFCON finals but they had issues when such trips were undertaken against a background where the players were having issues over payments.

Last month FIFA have turned down a request from the Sport and Recreation Commission to use their power to remove the entire ZIFA leadership from office, and replace it with a normalisation committee, to run domestic football for a specified period.

FIFA said while they expect bodies like ZIFA to be fully accountable and, if required, submit to the authorities all relevant information regarding the use of public funds, they didn’t believe there was need for the removal of Kamambo’s ZIFA leadership.

Should the ZIFA leadership be replaced by an interim committee, at the instigation of the SRC and the Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Ministry, FIFA said that would be deemed to be interference in the affairs of the association. And, it could result in ZIFA’s suspension from FIFA, with the country’s national teams barred from international competitions. The Herald