WITH the elections over and done with, reality now sharply stares new Zifa president Cuthbert Dube in the face.
The romanticism of the election period when all including politicians, football personalities and the media jostled to endorse his candidature, is thankfully now behind us. Now, all the niceties exchanged and promises made during the campaign will soon weigh down on Dube as the nation keeps tabs on what was promised to them. Even some sections of the media, who openly backed Dube all the way to the highest position in Zimbabwean football, will be hard pushed at some stage to take the gloves off.
The party is over.
There is no doubt that Dube brought upon huge expectations on himself and if not executed this could turn out to be his downfall. The man will be under immense pressure to validate the super image he portrayed as the saviour, a godsend to Zimbabwean football.
Is he going to succeed?
Given the nature of Zifa where certain untouchables with no official mandate apparently pull strings from the shadows, where certain inner circles were created by former chairmen and boards and allowed to take root by succeeding administrations, Dube will have his work cut out for him.
It is this institutionalised mob rule Dube needs to deal with first and foremost. It won’t be a stroll in the park because we are talking here about powerful forces, with the full backing of political offices that will vehemently resist the perching.
Let’s just hope that the presence on the board of some distinguished professionals, and also some personalities I want to call “football people” such as retired referee Kenny Marange, ex-players and current coaches Benedict Moyo and Methembe Ndlovu, will counterbalance key debates and policy formulation.
But let us also not have short memories.
We know who called the shots in the previous administration and hopefully the dangerous precedence set can be nipped in the bud. It will be very interesting to see if this new board has the guts to put certain individuals in their right places.
This is an appropriate yardstick for judging this board in its early days in office.
Dube & Co will never get the head start they want if they don’t put their secretariat in order.
What is the role of the chief executive officer, Henrietta Rushwaya? What are her bounds? Who appointed her, on what basis and to whom does she report to?
Who administers Zifa’s accounts? There is need for checks-and-balances at the Zifa headquarters by the board as a way of introducing transparency.
I believe these questions are paramount in the halls of power at 53 Livingstone Avenue because the activities of the Zifa head office have been shrouded in mystery under the last two administrations.
Will the new Zifa board succeed where the new Sports and Recreation Commission appear to have failed so far?
When they assumed office, the new SRC board was devoted to stem the rot in national sports associations. In football, their first course of action was to summon the Zifa top brass over one of the national side’s controversial tours to Southeast Asia.
Under pressure, the Zifa board reacted by suspending Rushwaya, pending investigations. Alas, she was reinstated only a few days later because her suspension was not “procedural”.
Journalists who attended the press conference which overturned the suspension have tales to tell of a sad chapter in Zimbabwean football.
Early on in his tenure, it must be clear to Dube that he has an obligation to get to the bottom of the activities of the Zifa HQ, for the benefit of a football fraternity and nation that has been kept wondering for too long.