Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Zifa face US$200k bill

By Eddie Chikamhi

ZIFA said they will need to fork out an extra US$50 000, bringing their costs to, at least, US$200 000, to host Algeria on foreign soil in a 2021 AFCON qualifier.

Orlando Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium, in Soweto, a suburb of Johannesburg, in Gauteng province in South Africa. It is the home venue for Orlando Pirates
Orlando Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium, in Soweto, a suburb of Johannesburg, in Gauteng province in South Africa. It is the home venue for Orlando Pirates

The Warriors are set to host Algeria in South Africa later this month with the match once again being shifted from Orlando Stadium to Dobsonville Stadium.

The football authorities were directed by CAF to look for an alternative venue following the blanket ban of all the stadiums in the country.

However, it emerged yesterday ZIFA failed to secure Orlando Stadium in Soweto after they failed to provide the financial guarantees that was demanded by the company that runs the stadium.

They have now been offered Dobsonville but they need to secure it quickly or they will lose it to others.

ZIFA board member in charge of finance, Philemon Machana, yesterday told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Sport, Art and Recreation they need US$200 000 to meet all the expenses for an AFCON qualifier.

This includes airfares for the Zimbabwe players and the Cameroonian match officials, their accommodation, allowances and local transport services.

“In US dollar terms for the national team, we usually budget US$150 000, including allowances, airfares, accommodation and everything for a game we host locally.

“But if we are going to South Africa the rest (of the costs) remain the same save for the venue.

“We are now saying there is that extra US$20 000-plus in forex and all that, so chances are that we are now going to get into US$200 000.

“It is certainly not (cheap) to play outside the country because of the pricing there. We even received some pricing vouchers from South Africa where to use, let’s say, Orlando, you need around US$28 000 (for stadium hire).

“There are also issues to do with accommodation, where we now need to accommodate ourselves as the home team, and also to host the visiting team as well.

“We must also factor in the referees, including their local shuttle transport. This is why as ZIFA, we have been doing everything to try and avoid playing outside the country.”

Machana said ZIFA will need to adjust their budgets.

“Some of the costs, when it comes to hosting at home, there is no one figure. It’s a sliding scale, depending on how many people go to the stadium.

“When paying for the venue, we are paying a percentage of the gross revenue. So, the beauty about that is, if there are zero people going in, then we also pay nothing.

“But, it’s different with the South African scenario,” said Machana.

Machana said they are praying that Zimbabweans in South Africa will respond positively and turn up for the match in large numbers.

The South Africans Football Association has been tasked with running the logistics, on behalf of ZIFA but, by yesterday, they were yet to advertise the game since there hasn’t been any confirmed venue.

ZIFA also face the possibility of having the match played behind closed doors because of the threat posed by the coronavirus.

It is still not clear whether the South African Government will open their borders for the travelling Algerian team and their band of supporters. Felton Kamambo, the ZIFA president, told the same Parliamentary Portfolio Committee they have opened fresh negotiations for Dobsonsville, also in Johannesburg, with a sitting capacity of 24 000.

“CAF had advised us to get in touch with South Africa, since we preferred to play in South Africa, so that the South Africans can do the logistics,’’ said Kamambo.

“We had chosen to play our game at Orlando Stadium. Initially, they said Orlando was available, but they wrote to us yesterday and said Orlando was no longer available.

“They said the only available stadium is Dobsonville but we have not yet secured it technically because our SAFA colleagues need to engage their Government since there are two countries coming to South Africa — Algeria and Zimbabwe.

“We were invited to a meeting today in South Africa, and we have seconded someone but, in that meeting, they also want a representative from our embassy to be in attendance.

“So once they get approval from their Government after this meeting, that’s when we can then confirm whether we have secured a stadium in South Africa.’’

The football leadership also appraised the parliamentarians that they wrote to CAF seeking a reschedule of the away fixture scheduled for March 26 at the Mustapha Tchaker stadium in Blida, where about 20 cases of the deadly coronavirus were detected. Kamambo also said there was danger Zimbabwe could fail to get eight of their players from Europe because of the travel restrictions imposed by some European countries.

The European-based players in ZIFA’s plans include skipper Knowledge Musona, Tino Kadewere, Marshal Munetsi, Marvelous Nakamba, Macauley Bonne, Alec Mudimu and goalkeeper Martin Mapisa.

“We have written to their clubs but we are yet to get responses. There is a real danger because many European countries have placed strict controls on foreign travel.

“But, if the worst comes to the worst, we will have to do with what we have,” said Kamambo. The Herald