Restructuring Committee summons ZIFA officials

Capitalk Reporter |  4 months ago | local

THE process that is likely to find lasting solutions to the challenges in Zimbabwean football administration begins in earnest today when the ZIFA Restructuring Committee make their first stop at the association’s offices to mark the start of the nationwide stakeholder consultative forums.

The Committee of experts, which is led by Harare lawyer Blessing Rugara, have scheduled meetings with officials from ZIFA, female administrators and players. More stakeholders such as ZIFA councillors, creditors and debtors are expected to meet the committee. Fittingly, the troubled ZIFA House had to be the first port of call in the football interactions that are expected to be far-reaching.

The committee has a long way to go as they have to get input from the cross-section of Zimbabweans in the efforts to find healing for the country’s troubled football landscape. A senior ZIFA official yesterday told The Herald that they are looking forward to the engagements and have been preparing their input.

“The committee has indicated that they would want to meet the who-is-who in Zimbabwean football and they are supposed to interact with the ZIFA staff tomorrow (today). “We also understand they will meet some key stakeholders such as councillors, creditors and debtors as the days go by.

“We got the invitations from the committee last week and we are preparing for that,” said the ZIFA official, who asked not to be named. The ZIFA Restructuring Committee chairman, Rugara, said in a statement that they have plans to engage the public through hearings on different platforms as part of a wider consultative process.

The Committee was set up by the Sports and Recreation Commission as part of the strategic roadmap towards addressing the issues that have affected football management and administration in Zimbabwe.

It was appointed in line with the provisions of Section 21, as well as 19(b) and 20 (c) of the SRC Act to tackle issues of strategic nature in the search for solutions in Zimbabwe’s perennial football administration problems and is not assuming the roles of the ZIFA board that was recently suspended by both the Sports Commission and FIFA.

This committee, made up of experts in various fields of administration, sports management, legal advisory and business management, is independent of the Sports Commission and has the autonomy to discharge the functions more fully as set out in its terms of reference.

Rugara and his team of professionals have been given until the end of the year to complete the mission and come up with a blueprint, widely expected to chart a new and refreshing chapter for local football.

“Preparations for the public hearings are at an advanced stage and the public will be advised of the dates in due course. These consultations are part of a process that will lead to the publication of a strategic report outlining a multi-year plan for developing football in Zimbabwe. “In conjunction with the public hearings, the restructuring committee is establishing technology portals to facilitate fan participation and engagement.

These portals will increase interactive access to a wider football audience who may not physically attend public hearings. “The portals will provide a mechanism for Zimbabweans in the diaspora to participate in the restructuring process. “Further, the Committee has confirmed meetings with ZIFA officials, female administrators and players. The meetings will be held the week of March 15th 2022.

Future meetings will include other stakeholders,” said Rugara. The committee looks to have a busy week with the ZIFA officials and administrators. They believe the process will bring back the good health of Zimbabwe’s football for both men and women. “It is our belief that local fans should expect a football culture and administration that will result in hosting healthy competitive local leagues, leagues that act as vehicles for talent identification, development and retention, leagues that support the progress of women and youth within an empowering comfortable environment.

“These efforts must include the establishment of a progressive football development programme from grassroots level to competitive professional leagues for both men and women. “Ultimately, the nation will have the key ingredients for competitive national teams that can perform successfully on the global stage,” said Rugara. Zimbabwean football had been brought to its knees over the last few years because of incompetent and corrupt administration. The Sports Commission finally read the riot act in November last year when they suspended the ZIFA board led by Felton Kamambo.

The suspended board faced several allegations which included lack of transparency with public funds, maladministration, bribery, vote-buying during election time and the sexual harassment of female referees. The Sports Commission said Zimbabwe would use the time during the suspension by FIFA to cleanse the game of all the vices. Rugara sounded confident that the mission would be achieved. “For the realisation of these objectives, ZIFA will be transformed into a dutiful organisation that cares for players, officials, supporters, referees and administrators.

“ZIFA will lead by example, becoming a fiduciary institution that is beyond reproach as a financial custodian in the administration of football in Zimbabwe. “Fundamentally, the committee seeks to create a sustainable and productive pathway for successful football in Zimbabwe.

“To this end, the restructuring committee has put in place principles of integrity, team work, inclusivity and transformation to guide the journey towards developing football. It will take time. “However, the Committee is taking deliberate and significant steps towards finding a solution to the development of our beloved national game. “The Committee is working daily to identify solutions that adequately address the current challenges in football in Zimbabwe.

his includes identifying suitable pathways towards a positive re-engagement process with FIFA and CAF and creating a platform for significant growth in the coming years. “The committee is appealing to every Zimbabwean for support,’’ Rugara said.

The other members of the nine-member committee are former Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) chief executive and International Federation World Rowing development manager Anna Mguni, international sports expert Tommy Sithole, banker Desmund Ali, lawyer Rudo Mugandani and former Sports Commission Matabeleland Provincial Co-ordinator Brian Busani Moyo

Doves Holdings General Manager Marketing Joel Gombera, former CAPS United administrator Joyce Kapota, CAPS United legend and former defender Charles “Raw Meat” Sibanda are also part of the committee.