• Frustrated coach dumps Young Warriors over unpaid dues
• Documents reveal FIFA gave ZIFA $1 million this year aloneEddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S Olympic Games dreams were in tatters yesterday after Young Warriors coach Callisto Pasuwa walked out on the team saying he was “fed up” with ZIFA for ignoring his plight and treating him as an outcast. The latest fallout between Pasuwa and ZIFA comes amid revelations that the association have so far received $1 050 000 from FIFA, as part of the world governing body’s Financial Assistance Programme, this year alone.
Of that chunk, $360 000 was set aside for “Men’s Competitions” but ZIFA have failed to pay Pasuwa even a cent while also deciding against settling the $81 000 that was needed by former national team coach Valinhos for the Warriors to be included in the 2018 World Cup draw.
Even an additional $60 000 that was paid by the Premier Soccer League to try and resolve the Valinhos issue was not forwarded towards that cause, with ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube claiming over the weekend that the money was used to settle a debt owed to Pandhari Lodges.
Documents obtained by The Herald show that ZIFA have received $360 000, for Men’s Competitions, which should ordinarily be taking care of issues related to the Warriors and the junior national teams, $25 000 for Youth Football and a similar amount for Women’s Football.
The association also received $90 000 for Planning and Administration and a once-off bonus, from the 2014 FIFA World Cup, of $550 000, bringing the payments from FIFA to $1 050 000.
It’s the first time, since Dube came into office in March 2010, that FIFA’s direct investment into the ZIFA coffers has passed the $1 million mark, in one year, as ZIFA received $500 000 last year, $250 000 in 2013, $250 000 in 2012 and $500 000 in 2011.
But such is the circus on the official FIFA website, under the FAP funds disbursements, Elliot Kasu is still retained as the ZIFA treasurer, even though he didn’t seek re-election last year and was replaced by Ben Gwarada, while the late Joseph Mabhonzo is also still retained as the Five-Aside-Football Co-ordinator.
Mabhonzo died in May last year.
Pasuwa was conspicuous by his absence when the team held their first training session at Greendale Sports Club yesterday where the players, who meet South Africa in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday, went through their paces under the tutelage of his assistant Nation Dube and goalkeepers’ coach Tembo Chuma.
The Young Warriors take on their South African counterparts in a do-or-die CAF Under-23 Championship encounter at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday evening, with the bigger picture of an Olympic Games ticket on the horizon.
The championships, to be held in Senegal in December, are the final qualifying route for next year’s Olympic Games.
Dube and Chuma said they had strict instructions from their boss not to speak to the media, but Pasuwa’s manager Gibson Mahachi said the coach decided to stay at home because he “has not received a cent” for his services to the national teams and was “fed up with the false promises that have been made by the association.”
Mahachi said ZIFA failed to meet the June 30 deadline they had agreed with the coach and have been avoiding him since then.
This is not the first time that the coach has fallen out with his employers over outstanding payments that date back to last year in September.
Last month, Pasuwa walked out just before the Warriors began their 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Malawi, only for the Sports Commission to intervene and resolve the dispute by paying the coach.
“I think he is fed up. I mean, this guy is a family man besides knowing him as we do as a coach. He has been doing everything in his powers to make sure that the national teams succeed,” said Mahachi.
“He has the results to show for it, for that matter. But what does he get in return? Not even a cent. Just promises which are not being fulfilled.
“They had set a deadline of 30 June but up to now nothing has happened. We had decided to let the coach take charge of the game against South Africa hoping that his employers would, at least, show some commitment but, surprisingly, there hasn’t been any form of communication.
“Of course problems are there in all facets of life but these guys must come out and say something and not avoid him. Honestly, it’s not so much about the money but communication. What would you do if your employer is not talking to you?
“It says a lot. Probably they are no longer interested in him. How else could you interpret that? So what the coach has done is simply to step aside and wait for his issues to be addressed.”
Pasuwa was not picking up his phone yesterday.
ZIFA communications manager Xolisani Gwesela said he was not aware that the coach did not report for duty.
“We haven’t heard from him. If he has any problems with the association then he has not communicated that with us,” said Gwesela.
The Young Warriors began trooping into camp on Monday evening and yesterday the assistant coaches had 17 players at their disposal.
The Premier Soccer League announced they will suspend the league programme this weekend to allow the Young Warriors ample preparations.
Goalkeeper Donovan Bernard missed the afternoon training session owing to a shoulder injury.
Dynamos defender Blessing Moyo and Liberty Chakoroma of Buffaloes, who missed the first leg while on trials in South Africa, were not available.
The South Africa-based duo of Kuda Mahachi and Thomas Chideu did not turn up as well.
Forward Chideu is a big doubt as he is busy sorting out his move to Ajax Cape Town.
The forward yesterday submitted his passport to apply for a South African work permit and was not sure if he will get the document in time.
South African clubs have started preparations for the new season.
“We have written to their clubs but we didn’t get any responses. It’s still our hope that we will get the players for the match but it’s difficult since the match falls outside of the FIFA calendar,” said Gwesela.
The South Africans, who have been in camp since last week, intensified their preparations last night with a friendly match against Rwanda in Johannesburg.
Tatenda Mukuruva, Blessing Moyo, Carlos Rusere (Dynamos), Criss Mverechena (CAPS United), Donovan Bernard, Mcgini Sibanda (How Mine), Lawrence Mhlanga, Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Chicken Inn), Teenage Hadebe, Knox Mtizwa(Highlanders), John Takwara, Wisdom Mutasa, Walter Musona (FC Platinum), Praise Tonha, Malvin Gaki (Triangle), Farai Madhananga (Flame Lily), Jimmy Konono (Whawha), Kuda Mahachi (Mamelodi Sundowns), Thomas Chideu (Ajax Cape Town)
Goalkeepers: Ludwe Mpakumpaku (Cape Town All Stars), Ricardo Goss (Golden Arrows), Jody February (Ajax Cape Town).
Defenders: Tshepo Rhikotso (Bloemfontein Celtic), Kwanda Mngonyama (Mamelodi Sundowns), Motjeka Madisha (Mamelodi Sundowns), Thabo Makhele (Witbank Spurs), Tebogo Moerane (Bidvest Wits), Zitha Macheke (Chippa United), Siyabonga Zulu (Platinum Stars).
Midfielders: Ayabulela Konqobe (Ajax Cape Town), Abbubaker Mobara (Ajax Cape Town), Keagan Dolly (Mamelodi Sundowns), Gift Motupa (Orlando Pirates), Jino Moeketsi (Supersport United), Phumlane Ntshangase (Bidvest Wits), Maphosa Modiba (Mpumalanga Black Aces), Riyaad Norodien (Ajax Cape Town), Lebogang Phiri (Brondby IF, Denmark).
Strikers: Siphiwe Kambule (Highlands Park), Andile Fikizolo (Supersport United), Siphelele Ntshangase