Pay your ear to the cries of football fans

Sunday Shot! with Goodwill Zunidza
With nothing much moving at Zifa in the way of a clear-cut strategy that will take our Warriors to Morocco 2015, one is tempted to go along with critics, sceptics and cynics who have all foreseen a bleak four years. Their combined fears are getting contagious by the day and indeed we could be up for the same yawn that characterised Cuthbert Dube’s first four years at the helm of local football. You hardly walk on the streets nowadays and your ears are not pelted by calls from fans to boycott all national team matches until sense is knocked into the administrators’ heads.

Such action would be catastrophic and definitely a culture we would not want to see permeate our game. The last couple of years have already witnessed a steady decline in match attendance that any further blow would hammer the final nail in the coffin of our beloved game.
To avert the impending crisis, the Zifa leadership must ensure they address all grievances in double-quick time, well before the onset of the 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifiers next month and that means N-O-W.

If he pays his ear to the cry of the multitudes, Dube might find nothing peculiar or misplaced in their demands. All they long for is for a functional secretariat that will run the affairs of the association in a manner that would satisfy the breadwinners of the game, that is both the supporters and sponsors.

I do not have the luxury of space to recount, recite or recapitulate all the failings of the Zifa secretariat. These are well documented since 2010 when the much-maligned Henrietta Rushwaya packed her bags and left in her stead the shadowy Jonathan Mashingaidze, whose nine-lives-of-a-cat survival instincts have been more than astounding.

But we can re-live a few of his gaffes: Highlanders banned from African competition for three years due to wrongful registration by the Zifa office, fraudulent voting for the Fifa Ballon d’Or Award that cost technical director Nelson Matongorere his job yet was executed under the watchful eye of the chief executive officer, post-deadline submission of requested documents, poverty of football ideas yet steering clear from constructive advice.

Of course that is not all as Zifa’s blunders and howlers are a matter of daily occurrence. It’s a case of what next. And this makes four years look an eternity.

Yet, Mashingaidze does not deserve to be shown the door in an impolite manner. There are many ways of killing a cat than by hanging it. Being a man that knows every single ant that crawls at 53 Livingstone Avenue from his many years there, why not re-assign rather than retrench him?

With the business section of Zifa beginning to gather momentum after the Zifa Village was commissioned, it means vacancies have arisen at the association’s commercial wing, Zifa (Pvt) Ltd. Dube has even talked of venturing into agriculture, suggesting a major economic boom for the mother body after the next rainy season.

Mashingaidze could thus relocate with his entire staff to the Zifa Village where business is envisioned to balloon in the next few months not only with teams adopting the venue for their camping and technical preparations but connoisseurs also checking in there for holidaying. In fact, the current staffing structure at Zifa House bodes well for a tourist enterprise.

Football business at Zifa House must be surrendered to football people, those with the requisite experience in management of club football of which the country is not in short supply. There are some boasting 20 to 30 years of football experience which stretches from playing, coaching and administration yet being business oriented.

As someone who was not involved in any football administration prior to his joining Zifa as a training officer, one begins to blame not Mashingaidze for his faults and errors but authorities who continue to maintain him.
But farming and tourist bookings need no football background.

Goodwill Zunidza is the Sports Editor of The Sunday Mail. You can interact on his Facebook wall Nunu Palmer or write directly to him on [email protected]

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