THE Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) this week told us that they suffered a $59 000 deficit for hosting the 2013 first round, second leg against Burundi at the National Sports Stadium last Sunday.
Their argument is that they paid exorbitant levies especially to the government while other stakeholders like the Confederation of African Football (Caf), Federation of International Football Associations (Fifa), police and private guards demand their fair share.
According to figures released by the football governing body, the Ministry of Public Works which presides over the giant stadium gobbled $24 000 after demanding 35 percent levy while the Sports Commission got the mandatory six percent from the $62 000 realized during the match. The figure adds to 41 percent levy given to the government given that the Sports Commission is an arm of the government.
Zifa have a point.
In contrast, the Harare City council charges 20 percent levy for the usage of Rufaro Stadium, a place the players and the media had advocated for during the Warriors’ home matches for obvious reasons.
Apart from the fact that it is a cheaper venue, the stadium is more accessible to the the fans and has a better turf at the moment compared to the horror field at the National Sports Stadium. What more? It was the venue the players felt they could express themselves better against their opponents.
But Zifa in their strange wisdom chose a location that was going to militate against them in many respects and one wonders why they do that when they always tell us they need revenue. Zifa blatantly refused to switch venue when the Warriors demanded that their game against Guinea be played at Rufaro Stadium. They gave us flimsy reasons why the Warriors could not play at Rufaro and in the end we suffered a 1-0 defeat to the West Africans while their coffers continue to dry up.
I think Zifa must stop being arrogant and embrace advice from different interested parties for the development of the game. This habit of knowing it all will never take us anywhere. Yes, there are football administration dinosaurs within the Zifa board like Ndumiso Gumede, but that does not mean Zifa stops learning.
The Zifa board members must adopt a life-long education mentality where they admit they should learn everyday and listen to counsel from any quarters. Haughtiness will not take them anywhere except regret and disaster.
As it stands Zifa stood to make more money had they had moved the home match against Burundi to Rufaro Stadium because the council charges 15 percent less levy than the Ministry of Public Works. Their plea to have levies reduced or scrapped could have fallen in relatively understanding ears because the Mayor of Harare Muchadeyi Masunda and his public relations manager Leslie Gwindi have sports administration backgrounds and understand these issues.
But then with the level of paranoia Zifa displays, they would not want to engage people like Gwindi because they opposed the ascendancy of incumbent president Cuthbert Dube. Zifa sees enemies everywhere they would rather shy away from good advise and better opportunities. The “third force” is everywhere.
It is time Zifa embrace every Zimbabwean even if some of them differ with them on certain issues. It is healthy. Mr Dube, stop surrounding yourselves with stooges as if you are a politician. Your position demands that the Warriors and other national teams qualify for international competitions. That is the legacy we want from you!