(Last Updated on January 1, 2013 by Editor)
ZIMBABWE – THE Warriors will fulfill their 2014 World Cup commitments despite Zifa threats to halt their participation if they do not receive any government funding, Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu has said.
Mpofu told thousands of mourners at the funeral of legendary Warriors and Highlanders striker Adam Ndlovu at the Bulawayo Amphitheatre on December 22 that government would never allow the national team to pull out.
Mpofu’s comments came after Zifa vice-president Ndumiso Gumede had indicated that world football governing body Fifa was not happy with the financial standing of the national association and participation was dragging Zifa into further debt.
Zifa owes various service providers $4 million and have been surviving mainly on its president Cuthbert Dube and Mbada Diamonds’ benevolence.
Said Gumede at the burial: “We have been meeting with Fifa people for the whole of last week and because of our financial situation, we decided that we will not engage in any international matches if there is no government assistance.
“The minister here (David Coltart, Education, Sport, Arts and Culture) must know this is the decision we have made and we need assistance in order to take part in the World Cup qualifiers.”
But Mpofu said to a round of applause: “Tell your minister here (Coltart) that we are not going to allow football to die. I am not a football fan, but I know football is the people’s sport.
“There are a number of companies like Marange and Mbada, who have been supporting football and they will assist.”
Yesterday, he added: “The commitment comes from companies that fall under the ministry (Mines and Mining Development ministry). We are committed to ensuring that sports, in particular football, does not die. We should be able to face the new challenges that come our way together.
“We already have Mbada which has committed itself to the Warriors as part of the corporate social responsibility and I am sure there are other companies that can come in to work with Mbada.”
Gumede told NewsDay Sport yesterday that Coltart and Mpofu would now engage on the matter.
“I told minister Coltart about that as the minister (Mpofu) was speaking in Ndebele and they will now engage at their level. The minister (Mpofu) made a commitment and we will follow up on that.”
The board was due to meet in Harare yesterday to review the 2012 tumultuous year which was compounded by the Asiagate match-fixing saga and the failure of the Warriors to qualify for both the 2012 and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Fifa development officer for Southern Africa Ashford Mamelodi and financial consultant Fidelis Banda were in Zimbabwe between December 9 — 14 and indicated their unhappiness with the way Zifa were managing their finances.
Zifa, who are seeking assistance from Fifa to clear their debts, risk losing the $250 000 annual grant. They have already lost $75 000 for failing to meet certain obligations and failing to respond to a critical financial questionnaire sent to them by the world football governing body.
The national association is in the process of trying to set up a Football Trust that will take over their liabilities.
The Warriors are close to concluding a friendly match against Niger on January 15 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, before they travel to Egypt for their third 2014 World Cup match on March 22. NewsDay