Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
ZIFA are reeling under a US$8 million debt, but their president Felton Kamambo says he intends to build a hotel and build a state-of-the-art headquarters for the association.
He also says ZIFA intend to buy an Outside Broadcasting Van during his term as the leader of domestic football. Kamambo addressed the continent, for the first time since coming to power in December last year, when he was the special guest at the weekly Soccer Africa football magazine television programme on DStv. He was in the company of panellists Jeff Katala, Thomas Kwenaite and Idah Peterside. The ZIFA boss said his target was taking the Warriors to the World Cup finals while he also outlined a number of projects which his leadership will undertake:
- Building a state-of-the-art ZIFA headquarters with a gym and other facilities, including football fields, which can be used by five-aside teams and beach footballers.
- Building a hotel which will accommodate the national teams, at any given time, enabling the association to avoid the expenses related to having the teams camp at city hotels.
- Targeting to use the hotel to generate funds for the association with the facility also being opened to private clients once it’s fully operational.
- Building regional offices in two of the four ZIFA regions in the Eastern and Central provinces to decentralise the operations of the association.
- Coming up with some income-generating projects, with the assistance of FIFA and other partners, and also venture into sportswear manufacturing.
- Plans are underway for ZIFA to buy an Outside Broadcasting Van to cut the prohibitive costs that come with the live coverage of matches for the Warriors
While Kamambo said ZIFA would receive funding from FIFA to help them in some of these projects, Katala, a Congolese football pundit, reminded him that only US$5 million comes into the coffers of associations from the world football controlling body every year and that would not be enough to underwrite all these projects.
The ZIFA president said they would target some other partners and he was confident most of the projects they were pursuing were going to be implemented.
Former ZIFA president, Cuthbert Dube, also wants promised he would lead the organisation into some farming ventures to raise money for its operations. However, that project never saw the light of the day.
‘’It’s been hectic,’’ Kamambo said of the time he has been in charge of ZIFA which has already seen him travel to Senegal, Turkey and South Africa where he is leading a delegation from the association at an exchange programme.
‘’We wish the hours of the day could be increased to 48 hours so that we could spend 24 hours working on football. We would like to take it (domestic football) to greater heights.
‘’We want to unite the football family of Zimbabwe and we want to take our football to greater heights. We want to get to the World Cup, the real World Cup, we want Zimbabwe to get there, we are very positive that we can take Zimbabwe to the World Cup like the one in 2022.
‘’We have a plan to take our football to greater heights. It’s not about the money that I have, it’s about the football brains that I have which can take Zimbabwean football to the level we want to get to.
‘’We have some pillars that we have set up as the board. We need to have the infrastructure, we have FAF funds from FIFA. We have targeted that we have a state-of-the-art ZIFA headquarters with a gym and many other facilities…and to a greater extent a hotel which can accommodate, maybe, our three national teams there at any given time.
‘’We need to come up with some income-generating projects, of course, we will get assistance from FIFA. We also need to get some partners, we have some projects that we intend to do, the hotel that we intend to build at our ZIFA head office, we expect it to bring some income for us.’’
Kamambo said they were sitting on a debt of US$8.4 million, which they inherited, but said while the previous leadership chose not to engage he creditors, they had chosen the path of engagement to deal with these challenges.
‘’We want them (the creditors) to give is a waiting period, a time frame, so that we can make a plan to liquidate the legacy debt,’’ he said.
‘’We also want to buy a broadcasting van because we want all our money to remain (in Zimbabwe). We are very positive as a board that we will move mountains in as far as Zimbabwe football is concerned, it’s a sleeping giant which needs to be awakened.’’
The ZIFA boss said they will work closely with the legends of the game and said he was happy that Hardlife Zvirekwi had found a way to rise from a horrific injury to play the game again.
He also talked about the challenges he faced ahead of the ZIFA elections, including being questioned by the police.
‘’When you want to become a football president in Africa, you expect to face those kind of things,’’ said Kamambo.
‘’To me that was a blessing in disguise because it turned out to be part of my campaign (strategy).’’