Zifa, Safa set to seal pact

Zimbabwe and South Africa’s football federations, Zifa and Safa respectively, are set to forge closer ties by signing a memorandum of understanding to help development of the game in both countries.

Report by Kevin Mapasure

The two associations are currently drafting the agreement which will address issues like placement of players and coaches, quality control, training camps, events hosting and development.
Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze was in South Africa this week where he met Safa representatives and the proposal was made.

Mashingaidze said because there was no prior agreement, Zimbabwe did not benefit from South Africa’ hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup as well as this year’s Afcon finals.

The agreement would see topflight clubs engaging in coach exchange programmes as well as helping in the placement of players from either side.

South Africa has such standing agreement with Burkina Faso and is looking to foster a relationship with Zimbabwe which exports the highest number of foreign players to the Absa Premier League.

“Had we such an agreement in place before we would for example have teams coming in to camp in Zimbabwe ahead of the Afcon finals which would have given our Warriors a chance to test themselves,” said Mashingaidze.

“We could also have reaped more benefits from the 2010 World Cup with teams coming into the country.

“There are a lot of benefits from this agreement once signed; we will have South African teams coming here for their pre-season camps while our teams will also have a chance to cross the border for camps. Technical exchange programmes are another area that we would benefit from.”

Safa has pledged support to Zifa in their Golden Jubilee celebrations set for July this year, with the Afcon winning class of 1996 coming to play a team comprising Warriors legends.

Top officials from South Africa will also come and witness the celebrations as will club officials. Meanwhile Manchester City, who have also pledged support for Zifa’s 50th anniversary celebrations, are looking to launch a grassroots development programme in the country after Mashingaidze’s meeting with the team’s regional manager, Daniel Paiser, in South Africa this week.

Benjani Mwaruwari’s former club is working on a framework of how it can support local schools of excellence to aid development. The Barclays Premier League champions are looking to support with the provision of coaches and equipment for academies and schools.

“They are looking to have a development programme every April and December and aim to start the ball rolling next month.

“Paiser has gone back to his club to work out a framework, but they are already looking at starting this April where Manchester City coaches will come for holiday coaching programmes. We are also going to have our teams going there to camp in future so we can use their facilities. They are also exploring the possibility of setting their first team’s pre-season training camp here,” Mashingaidze said.