No Mugabe guarantee yet for bid

Enock Muchinjo


ZIMBABWE’S bid to host the 2010 African Nations Cup finals yesterday still hung in the balance because government has not given its full support of the  proposal.

A delegation leaves for Cairo tomorrow to present Zimbabwe’s

bid on Sunday.

Although the committee working on the bid has prepared a budget, the source of funding to bankroll the event is not yet in place. This is where the government is required to provide a gurantee that it has the resources to fund the event in the absence of finance from the provate sector and sponsors.

The 2000 Nations Cup tournament was taken away from Zimbabwe after the government failed to provide first class gurantees for the hosting of the  finals. If Zimbabwe is to stand a chance of landing the 2010 Nations Cup edition – which coincides with Africa’s first-ever World Cup finals in South Africa – President Mugabe’s signature is crucial before the bid team leaves for Cairo.

The Zimbabwe Football Association had by yesterday not secured the government guarantee despite a statement by the Sports and Recreation Commission that the president “would naturally support this national project”.

SRC chief executive officer Charles Nhemachena said by the time the delegation leaves tomorrow, the nation would be clearer on the content of the bid and the commitment of the country’s highest office.

“This is a national project with blessings from the top,” Nhemachena told IndependentSport yesterday.

“There is no way we will fail to get the guarantee. The fact that the documentation and the guarantee are late is neither here nor there. The support of the president is there,” he said.

Zifa officials, who were locked in meetings this  week, yesterday met with Vice-President Joseph Msika, who is also the association’s patron, in a frantic effort to secure the gurantee, sources said.

Both Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze and chairman Wellington Nyatanga referred all questions regarding the bid to the SRC, which is a government arm.

Meanwhile, Gary Thompson, whose company Gary Thompson & Associates has compiled a PowerPoint presentation that will be flighted before the judges in Cairo, remained upbeat about Zimbabwe’s competitiveness.

He described the presentation as “powerful stuff”.

“The best we can do is to give the best picture of our nation,” Thompson told IndependentSport. “We are doing this in the national interest. We are fully behind anything that is good for our nation.”

Hosting the Nations Cup in 2010, the same year neighbouring South Africa will be hosting the World Cup, will be in the best interest of Zimbabwe from a sporting and economic standpoint.

Although Zimbabwe’s infrastructure is dilapidated, it is still superior to that in most countries on the continent.

Resultantly, Zimbabwe could still put up a strong bid. However the country has suffered  unprecedented economic meltdown in the past seven years and this could impact negatively on the bid.