The Zimbabwe Farmers Association, what next?

Sunday Shot! With Goodwill Zunidza
You know that our football has surely reached the brink of irreparable insolvency when unconventional methods start being bandied as solutions to the worsening financial crisis that has crippled operations at the Zimbabwe Football Association.

Zifa president Cuthbert Dube recently announced plans by the mother body to soon diversify into farming, triggering a chain of mixed reactions, the majority of which have unfortunately been in the negative.

It’s not in question that the national football association is already monetarily bankrupt — and has been for some time — but it was not expected that the Zifa board would go mentally bankrupt this early into their new term of office.

Let us first look back at what got us to this position, before we give the Zifa bosses a deserved tongue-lashing.

Granted, their ideas are inspired by the casino nature of the prevailing Zimbabwean economy where it is not uncommon for business to indulge in unorthodox trades to remain afloat.

It’s not odd any more to come across a service station that has long run out of fuel in the pumps but has a huge quantity of cement in stock for sale.

You can also find some of the latest fashion hung invitingly for shoppers in premises that are ordinarily in the business of selling food and drink.

Sometime back, Mimosa Mining Company weaned off FC Platinum from their direct control and invested in an outlay of commercial projects that included a service station, a night-club and restaurant to shore up their football side, who are counted as the fourth giant of Zimbabwe football.

A pity no one has yet been gifted with audited financial reports from that business enterprise in Zvishavane but our collective guess is that the money raised so far has proved insufficient to bankroll a professional football team, leaving the mine to resort back to its coffers.

Of course, the comparison given may be a bit odious, but it remains prudent that corporates stick to their line of trade and focus only on the deliverables.

We would conclude the country was coming to a close were a telecommunications company to signal intention of venturing into brick-making, in order to raise capital to set up more base stations.

The prime business objective of football is to generate income from the game of football. Any other fund-raising means becomes secondary. Indeed, seed capital for any economic venture outside football must be sourced from proceeds realized from the game.

Everyone is aware of the existence of Zifa Pvt Ltd which looks after the business interests of Zifa and has under its arms properties like Zifa House, Zifa Village and two other buildings, one in Bulawayo that acts as the office for the Southern Region, and a guest house in the Harare low-density suburb of Kensington.

Ideally, the envisaged agricultural activities will take place under this privately-registered company but are so far only a pipe-dream in that the farm where the project is earmarked is still to be allocated by the government under the land redistribution exercise.

As it is, there is no guarantee that Zifa’s application for land will be successful, which means the association must re-align on their football product to bring about the projected turnaround.

What is proving so difficult in signing up with a reputable kit supplier that will supply Warriors replica jerseys for sale to the public by Zifa?  Just a hundred thousand replicas at US$50 each could raise US$5m that would wipe out in an instant the nagging debt on Zifa’s shoulders.

Zifa could even create a ready market by organizing money-spinning friendly international matches with spectator value and opening selling points for those jerseys and other paraphernalia at the stadium.

Only then can the football leadership toy with the idea of investing the proceeds in farming.

  • 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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