NO major sporting discipline can ever prosper and compete favourably when it is being run in an amateurish manner, especially in this day and age when countries have taken a professional approach in the administration of sport. <
As such, commercialisation has become as much a necessity in sport as the need to have 11 players in a football team. This has been one area where Zimbabwe has been glaringly lagging behind in.
The Zimbabwe Football Association (Pvt) Ltd, a subsidiary company formed in 1982 to protect the fixed assets of the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa), was borne out of that realisation. Although now 23 years old, the company is only starting to take off the ground.
Frank Valdemarca, the Zifa board member for finance who is heading the undertaking for the project, said that Zifa was now ready to cede all its assets to the company as soon as the Zifa Training Centre in Mount Hampden is up and running. The training centre will be the company’s main revenue-generating venture through leasing of facilities and training.
“We firmly believe that the training centre will generate funds and give back to football what the community has invested into it,” Valdemarca said.
“This particular aspect will run as a training venue to all sports disciplines and camping venue for national teams. Although Zifa remain as the major shareholder, the private company is totally independent.
“One of the thoughts at present is that Zifa (Pvt) Ltd would also become the marketing arm for Zifa. We will take over things like negotiating television rights, merchandising and other commercial deals.
“The company’s full operation has been on the cards since the purchase of the land for the training centre in 1999. What is now left is that the training centre is 100 % complete so that the company becomes self-sustainable.
We are hoping that eventually we would be able to make a financial impact to sustain Zifa.”
Final touches are now being put to the training centre, but constructors are still to complete the two football pitches at the centre.
The proposed structure of the company will see it incorporating a board of directors and a full staff complement led by a managing director. There will also be a marketing manager, sales manager, financial manager and a estate manager for the Zifa Training Centre. – Staff Writer.