ZIFA partner Wicknell Chivayo says he will continue bankrolling domestic football and hopes that his support will result in success stories being written by the country’s biggest sporting discipline.
Chivayo unveiled a $1 million sponsorship package for ZIFA, becoming the first major sponsor for the association in the past six years, and he has already paid virtually the debt that was owed to Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet, ensuring that Zimbabwe will not be expelled from the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
FIFA had warned that failure to pay Saintfiet by the beginning of last month would see the Warriors being kicked out of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, without kicking a ball, which would have been a massive blow for the country’s teenage footballers.
Chivayo has already backed Warriors coach, Callisto Pasuwa, despite the senior national team crashing out of the first round at the 2016 African Nations Championship where they were one of the seeded teams.
His investment into domestic football has been hailed by the Democratic Republic of Congo Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mawampanga Mwana Nanga, who said it was important for investors to back domestic football to enable the country to have a strong league that will produce players who can write success stories at such tournaments like the CHAN finals.
The DRC won the CHAN tournament for the second time in six years after an impressive 3-0 destruction of Mali in the final in Kigali on Sunday.
“You have this young man (Chivayo) who has just given a million dollars to ZIFA,” Nanga said. “I’m sure we can find 10, 15 millionaires here in Zimbabwe who can really fund string teams such that players stay at home and make good money here.” Yesterday, Chivayo handed over the brand new car that he acquired for Warriors coach Callisto Pasuwa, and promised to keep supporting football.
The Harare businessman said he was hopeful that his support for Zimbabwe football “will go a long way in improving the game,” while he also agreed to sponsor the Mighty Warriors because his late uncle, Vice President John Nkomo, was once the patron of the team. He said the days when the national teams had to struggle with running costs were long gone.
“For as long as Dr (Philip) Chiyangwa (ZIFA president) is in office I will do the best I can,” the young businessman, dressed in casual and sporting a shining gold watch, who arrived at the hand-over ceremony for Pasuwa’s car driving his latest Mercedes Benz S63 AMG, with a personalised number plate ‘SIR’, said.
“Under normal circumstances the Government will have an allocation on the budget for the Ministry of Sports which caters for national teams.
“However, because of the punitive illegal sanctions imposed on us by ruthless imperialists our economy is struggling hence, as a successful businessman, I have come out in full force to support soccer at a national level.
“I have received so many requests from various clubs and individuals which I regrettably declined because my aim is to make a big difference for my nation at national level because the national teams represent everyone who proudly calls himself or herself a Zimbabwean. “Their success is our success, as a nation, and their failure is our failure and we should make sure that we don’t accept failure because, as Zimbabweans, we have already shown that we are a resilient people and we will succeed if we all work together.”