|Fifa happy with Zifa projects|
|Saturday, 09 June 2012 12:00|
FIFA’S development officer for Southern Africa, Ashford Mamelodi, says the organisation still has faith in the Zifa leadership despite the barrage of criticism leveled on the board. Mamelodi reiterated their support of the Zifa board during the official ground-breaking ceremony for the Zifa Goal Project Three at the association’s school of excellence in Mt Hampden. Mamelodi, who has supervised the previous phases of the Fifa Goal Projects, said he was happy that the current board was making tangible progress on the project.
He believed that (Cuthbert) Dube has shown resilience against all the challenges and urged him not to tire as Zifa seeks to bring the Asiagate scandal to its finality.
“I have a greeting to you (Zifa) from Fifa president Sepp Blatter who is aware of the ground breaking ceremony we are making today.
“Fifa has been concerned about events in Zimbabwe and will continue to support them.
“The goal project started in 1999 and Zifa got theirs in 2001 but it was not until last year that it was completed,” said Mamelodi.
Under Goal Project One, Zifa poured the funds from Fifa into a junior development programme that backfired as it was not sustained.
The Goal Project Two was initiated by former Zifa president Leo Mugabe when he bought a piece of land in Mt Hampden with a view of establishing a football training centre.
Mugabe failed to complete the Goal Project Number Two and successive Zifa boards, since the turn of the millennium, failed to finish the project until Dube’s leadership came in March 2010.
The initial Goal Project Number Two was roundly condemned after the contractor was accused of doing a shoddy job and it had to be redone by a new group of architects.
Under the third phase, a new conference centre, equipped with a kitchen, a gym, a lounge and a small clinic will be constructed using funds from Fifa.
In addition to the Third Phase, Mamelodi revealed that Fifa have unveiled a Special Project for Zifa which will see the laying of an artificial turf at the football pitch at the village, which is at present in state of neglect.
The turf will be similar to the one at Rufaro. It’s estimated that Fifa will inject close to US$490 000 for the projects.
“The Second Goal Project, not with standing the problems was completed in September last year and today were here to witness the start of Goal Project Number Three.
“Fifa are happy because Dube and his team have shown determination against all odds.
“Yesterday (Thursday) I was at the airport and I heard that the national team had failed to travel to Mozambique for a World Cup qualifier and I was looking at the possibility of them failing to travel.
“But they have managed to go and at times Dube has mortgaged his house and it’s not a normal situation but he has to do it.
“Now there is this animal called Asiagate and its scary when I begin to think of it but if you will kill it, then you will have left a legacy. People will go back to an environment that will be conducive for football development.
“We are aware that the Asiagate has now reached a critical point,” said Mamelodi yesterday.
The burly Botswana football administrator said Fifa had faith in the current football leadership despite its challenges of failing to lure adequate sponsors for its brands.
“Fifa has faith in the Zifa leadership because it’s trying to create an environment conducive for the next generation.
“We will do whatever is possible to help Zifa and we should be sending over again one of our officers to help you restructure your finances.
“For we believe that if you are transparent, a lot will come out.
“After this Goal Project Number Three, Zifa Village will never be the same again,” said Mamelodi.
An architect at the project, Irene Masiyanise, said they hope to complete the phase by November this year.
“We demolished the structure that was there and were hopeful to finish this soon. Remember we completed the Goal Project Two well before our deadline,” said Masiyanise.
Speaking during the same function, Dube said he was happy with the support rendered to his board by Fifa and promised to bring more corporates to the game. The Zifa president also said he could be tempted to believe that there was a third force behind the Warriors’ defeat to Guinea during the World Cup qualifier on Sunday.
“We created more than four clear chances and the guys failed to score against Guinea but the team came close. After the match, we understand that some people went to celebrate the Warriors’ defeat.
“Already we received information that some of the rats who are implicated (in Asiagate) are already in Mozambique and staying at the hotel where our team is going.
‘It’s a shame,” said Dube.
Guest of honour at the ground-breaking ceremony, Jessie Nyakatawa, who is a Sports Commission board member, urged Zifa to use the facility to develop football as well as generate revenue.