Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
FIFA development officer for southern Africa Ashford Mamelodi flew into the country yesterday to conduct an induction course for the new ZIFA board, which should pave the way for a better working relationship between the association’s leadership and the executive committee.
Mamelodi, who is no stranger to Zimbabwe, having been in and out of the country on numerous occasions, will lead the discussions during the board’s weekend retreat in Nyanga today after which FIFA and ZIFA are expected to set some benchmarks on some of the targets which Philip Chiyangwa and his committee have put in place for their tenure.
The honorary COSAFA secretary, speaking after his arrival from South Africa yesterday, said it was imperative that FIFA met with the new ZIFA leadership and appraise them of the world body’s expectations.
ZIFA, on their part, are also expected to outline their priority areas, discuss the resumption of the FIFA financial assistance programme and the crippling debt that had at one stage brought business at 53 Livingstone Avenue to a standstill.
Mamelodi said he is hopeful that at the end of the induction workshop, Chiyangwa and his board that swept into power on December 5 last year would also have a better appreciation of how best they can tap into FIFA support in their bid to develop the game.
“With this visit I will get a feeling of how the new ZIFA leadership is settling in and to find out if they are facing any challenges.
“Of course, I spoke to them a bit when they came into office and discussed the need to downsize in the interests of austerity measures and I will get an appreciation of how far they have gone in that regard.
“These guys are still new and we have to do an induction as quickly as possible before they lose focus. So we will discuss a host of issues and it will be highly interactive. We are going to look at FIFA and development as you know one of the many things that FIFA helps member associations with is football development,’’ Mamelodi said.
Mamelodi said although FIFA had an official website that covers all the facets of the game, experience had taught the world body to hold induction courses for each new leadership at member associations.
The veteran administrator who has helped many associations on the continent with putting up proper football structures indicated that their indaba with the ZIFA board would also discuss the impending reforms at FIFA.
“We will also touch a little on the reforms at FIFA which the Congress is supposed to vote on next week. The reforms will change the way FIFA has been running. From my point of view, they are important reforms which if approved will make FIFA stronger than it has been and will help to avoid some of the problems that have bedevilled FIFA,’’ Mamelodi said.
Although he did not want to pre-empt the deliberations, Mamelodi said time would also be devoted to discussing sport governance and in particular football.
“There is need to appreciate what football governance entails and especially the issue of roles that are not often appreciated and people end up assuming roles which are not theirs.
“We should avoid the kind of problems that often hit on this continent and as leaders we will remind each other what leadership is and discuss some of the things that appear basic but which if discussed in the football context somewhat helps.
“To round off the workshop, I would want ZIFA to share with FIFA their priority areas but obviously the debt that ZIFA has needs to be erased, as an executive you cannot be saddled by debt forever.
“Fortunately for ZIFA, the president (Chiyangwa) is coming to Zurich and if there are any issues that need to be ironed out, we will find some time to talk to ZIFA about their challenges,’’ Mamelodi said.