Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa yesterday challenged Zimbabwean footballers to put their careers ahead of everything else, including financial returns. The Harare businessman was speaking at the closing ceremony of the Women’s football induction workshop at the ZIFA Village where he also unveiled a package worth $150 000 for the Zimbabwe Women’s Soccer League to kick-start their season which had been hamstrung by lack of sponsorship over the years.
Chiyangwa handed over kits and equipment to the 16 teams that were represented at the workshop and made cash pledges to the teams to meet their expenses.
The ZIFA president told delegates that it was worrying that footballers were now risking results and the nation’s pride for money while reminiscing on the disturbances that marred the Mighty Warriors preparations for the Olympic Games last year and the Warriors’ ugly spat with the leadership ahead of their departure to Gabon for the Africa Cup of Nations early this year.
“One thing that happens is that if you become too much obsessed with money at the expense of your career is that you risk not being able to play the game to your maximum potential.
“It happened with the Warriors, they put a gun to my head going to Gabon and we gave them the money. As Zimbabwe we were waiting for results and I am sure you all saw them.
“Money sometimes is evil, it can get you drunken. So we threw the money at them, but nothing came out of it.
“But we want to be able to encourage people to participate with their hearts into what they are doing. For instance it’s my full-time job (being association president); I am not paid by ZIFA, but you can see the commitment is there.
“My sole source of survival are my businesses, but I am still committed to this without a salary cheque. I am not the kind of guy who can be enticed with little money by getting an allowance that I attend a ZIFA meeting? No way.
“I am a big money person. But commitment alone and I took this task of becoming president because I thought I would make changes to our game,” said Chiyangwa.
Chiyangwa said women’s football should be able to find its feet after sourcing support for them.
“The association after realising that Women Football is still developing and many steps behind their male counterparts has decided to assist the league for the year 2017.
“Accordingly, I on behalf of ZIFA avail several football equipment to 16 clubs initially registered for the 2017 league. The equipment includes kits, boots, balls, bibs, shin guards, socks, ball nets and gloves.
“This equipment is worth $110 000 in market value.
“Further the association has drawn up a budget of $40 000 to take care of transport expenses and match officials fees during the league games.
“Each travelling away team will get $180 per match as transport assistance while the home team will get $80 per match for match officials. Details of such disbursements will be communicated by the board member Finance Philemon Machana.
“It is my hope that women football will rise from this, excite fans and attract sponsorship such that from 2018 onwards, commercial partners will come on board,” said Chiyangwa.