Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa says the Premiership clubs should have a professional outlook by having qualified personnel in their administration structures to unlock the commercial value of their brands and football.
Addressing a two-day CAF Club Licensing seminar which began in Harare yesterday, Chiyangwa told the club’s representatives that it was high time local teams assumed a professional outlook.
CAF have sent three members who include SAFA chief executive Dennis Mumble, Zambian Honour Janza and Maxwell Mtonga of Malawi to the seminar.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association, as the sole custodian of football in the land, saw it fit to embrace Club Licensing as a tool of enhancing professionalism in our game,” Chiyangwa said.
“A professional environment allows football to realise its full potential. There is no short cut to football excellence and hence the need to give our clubs the professional facelift.
“The club systems should see executive committees allowed to take charge of club affairs. The statutes should help the clubs attain their legal status and stability.
“The clubs should have qualified personnel running the show. We need to have youth academies set up by our clubs. Zimbabwe football has come of age and we need to see our clubs assuming a professional outlook.”
The Harare businessman said they would like to see clubs having proper club supporting structures such as the academies and training grounds.
“The Club is the shop window of the Association and it is our conviction that the clubs should be technically resourced through such initiatives like the club licensing framework.
“ZIFA would like to see the clubs owning training grounds, gymnasiums, testing laboratories, sports complexes, which can offer modest apartments for players, sports shops, auditoriums, the list is endless.
“Our clubs cannot afford to continue wallowing in stagnation and under development.
“The Premiership is the flagship league as evidenced by what the league produces. Our two clubs Chicken Inn and Harare City are in the CAF inter-club competitions and I would like to wish them a bountiful hunt in the African Safari.
“Our team which was in Rwanda last month was drawn from the 16 Clubs and we salute the league for producing a select side which qualified for the 2016 CHAN tournament and 2015 African Games,” said Chiyangwa.
The ZIFA president said the Association and ZIFA should work together.
“The PSL elections set for the 5th of March should see the league being led by a chairman who will not only be part of the new ZIFA Board but should be able to allow the league to contribute to the fiscus of the Zimbabwe Football Association.
“The PSL should closely work with the mother body and at no point should ZIFA and the affiliate leagues be in conflict with each other,” said Chiyangwa.
Chiyangwa also spoke about the levies being charged by stadium authorities which he feels are too prohibitive.
“May I take this opportunity to implore the owners of the football venues not to bleed the game. The stadium levies should not suffocate the clubs and the Association at large.
“The venue owners should also strive to improve the standards of the stadia,” said Chiyangwa.
Janza, who was the assistant coach of the triumphant Chipolopolo at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012, said there was lack of professionalism in African football.
“What makes football the best game in other parts of the world is lacking in Africa so, Mr president, the importance of this seminar is to highlight and bring to your house the importance of professionalism in football,” said Janza.
“We will also look at the tools that need to be used during the licensing and we will also talk about the memorandum of understanding that exists between CAF and FIFA and other stakeholders.”