Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
REVELATIONS of details of the full disbursement, which the Sierra Leone Football Association will pour into their football structures, show ZIFA’s injection into the domestic game, was not offside.
While the two associations differ on what should be ploughed into the national teams, with ZIFA investing a lot into those structures, they both put a lot of priority into the welfare of their top-flight leagues.
The difference, in the funds which the two associations have allocated to their national teams, could stem from the different commitments which their representative sides have in the coming months.
The Sierra Leone senior national team were knocked out of the preliminary rounds of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and will not take any further part in the matches for a place in Qatar.
The Lone Star are not scheduled to feature at the CHAN finals after they could not feature in the qualifiers as the West African nation was serving a FIFA suspension.
That probably explains why the SLFA collocated just US$20 000, from what US$500 000 they received from FIFA in the July allocation, and a similar amount from what they will get from the world football body in January next year.
There is also a US$30 000 allocation for their men’s B national team, US$20 000 for their men’s Under-23 team, US$30 000 for their men’s Under-17 team and US$10 000 for their men’s Under-15 team.
In sharp contrast, the Warriors are still involved on all three fronts.
The senior national team are set to feature in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, the 2021 AFCON qualifiers and the 2020 CHAN finals which have been put on hold.
Maybe, that explains why there was a substantial allocation, from the Covid-19 relief funds, towards the national teams by ZIFA.
The country’s football governing body allocated US$80 000, from the initial US$500 000 they will get from FIFA, towards the Warriors and their technical staff.
They also allocated US$20 000, from that initial tranche, to the CHAN team, and their technical staff.
ZIFA then allocated US$400 000, from what they are scheduled to get in January, to cover the national teams of all ages.
In both schedules of disbursements, there is a clear consideration that their Premier Leagues, deserve to get a big chunk of the US$1.8 million Covid-19 relief from FIFA and CAF.
ZIFA, just like Sierra Leone counterparts, gave priority to the two countries’ top-flight leagues.
The 18 PSL clubs were allocated US$100 000, which they have to share equally among themselves, while another US$66 000 will go towards the clubs when the second tranche arrives in the ZIFA coffers in January next year.
The country’s top-flight league management will receive a US$20 000 grant but, crucially, ZIFA have also undertaken to pay US$44 000 towards the referees fees for the PSL games.
“What this means now is that when our league resumes, there is no PSL club that is going to pay the referees. That will be the baby of ZIFA,’’ ZIFA president, Felton Kamambo, said recently.
“A further $6.5m has been allocated for medical equipment.
“What it all means is that it’s a cost that we have taken from the clubs, in terms of our preparation for the resumption of the games. ZIFA will be responsible for that. We have set aside some funding for that.’’
The association have also set aside US$70 000 for the women’s top-flight league games.
“Of course, when you look at what the Sierra Leone Football Association have allocated to their top-flight league, and its main clubs, you can see that it is about more than double what ZIFA have allocated locally,’’ an official, who chose not to be named, told The Herald yesterday.
“If you calculate what the SLFA will invest, into their main league and top-flight leagues, you will see that it comes to more than US$800 000.
“But, that just tells a quarter of the story because what has to be taken into consideration here is that the Sierra Leone top-flight league had been inactive for about four-and-half years.
“Until January last year, the league was inactive for about five years because of the suspension of the game in the country.
“Football was first suspended in Sierra Leone because of the Ebola virus in 2014 and then wrangling, among the leaders of the league and the national association, ensured that the league was not held until last January.
“So, because of what the league has lost in about four-and-half years, maybe you can understand why there is a deliberate intention to invest heavily in that area, using the Covid-19 funds.
“But, what is quite clear is that there is an acknowledgement, from both the SLFA and ZIFA, if you break down the numbers, that the top-flight leagues in both countries, just like what is happening in all countries, deserve priority.
“Here in Zimbabwe we have a league that has been very active, producing clubs that have been playing in the CAF inter-club competitions.
“You can’t compare what we have here, in terms of top-flight football, to what is in Sierra Leone, especially after the challenges they have faced in the past six years.’’
The SLFA appear to have borrowed a leaf from ZIFA, when it comes to what they will allocate to the regions.
The five regions in the West African country will get US$150 000, about US$30 000 each, this year from the FIFA allocation.
The four regions in Zimbabwe have been allocated US$100 000, which is US$25 000 each, this year from the FIFA allocation.