The Herald (Harare)

23 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Football Trust to Be Independent

ZIFA have insisted that the newly established Zimbabwe Football Trust will be an independent body whose tenure of office will also be limitless with only the identities of the Trustees likely to change over time.

The soccer mother body, which turns 50 on May 17, has also tasked the Trust with leading the activities to mark Zifa's Golden Jubilee celebrations.

But, more urgently for Zifa, appears to be the need for the Football Trust to immediately out their shoulders to the wheel and mobilise funds that will enable the Warriors to resume their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign at the end of next month.

The Warriors, with just a point from their opening two qualifiers, travel to Alexandria to face former African champions and group leaders Egypt on March 26 in a tough assignment that will also mark caretaker coach Klaus Dieter Pagels' first competitive game in charge of the national team.

The spotlight will, however, soon shift to the Football Trust whom Zifa president Cuthbert Dube said would operate independently of the association's administration.

Dube likened the Football Trust to the scenario that has been prevailing at the Zifa Village where his executive struck a deal in which Fifa would pay the contractors directly with the association's only confirming to the world body to release funds when work has been done.

"The Trust is an independent body that will have its own bank accounts and will have their own auditors. There is also no time frame for their term of office because the Trust will be there as long as football is alive, unlike previous Trusts, this is not an ad-hoc arrangement," Dube said.

Dube said the resources mobilised for the Golden Jubilee celebrations would also be managed by the Trust which includes a number of influential people in the corporate sector.

Among the Trustees are Air Zimbabwe acting chief executive Innocent Mavhunga, Mbada Diamond's chief executive Patience Khumalo, Marange Resources board chairman Tshinga Dube, businesswomen Marah Hativagone and Barbra Chikosi and Led Travel and Tours managing director Bernard Gwarada. Dynamos vice-chairman, Webster Chikengezha, who is also a managing director at Nyaradzo funeral assurance, Zimbabwe soccer legend George Shaya, and businessmen Solomon Cheure and Philemon Machana are also Trustees.

"The Trust shall embark on investment projects ranging from mining, manufacturing, retail, entertainment, construction to farming to mention but a few.

"A coterie of revenue generating projects shall also be lined by the Trust as Zimbabwean Football celebrates 50 years of football excellence. Resources mobilised shall be strictly managed by the Trust. The association shall ensure that the resources mobilised and utilised are strictly accounted for.

We cannot afford the luxury of misusing and or abusing hard earned resources," Dube said.

The Zifa president also paid tribute to the individuals who had agreed to come on board the Trust especially against the background of the domestic game's tainted image.

"The men and women who accepted to take up the appointments on the Trust are a rare lot whose patriotism, dedication and commitment to see Zimbabwean football transform is there for us to see and I think even the media should support them.

"The Zimbabwe Football trust is made up of eminent Zimbabweans drawn from the commanding heights of our economy," Dube said.

Zifa vice-president, Ndumiso Gumede, also revealed that in appointing the Trust, they were fulfilling one of the main objectives which their late patron and Vice President John Nkomo had sought to achieve. Gumede said the late Vice President Nkomo had already begun identifying some of the Trustees before he died and had implored on Zifa to ensure the Trust catered for the other facets of football apart from just focusing on the Warriors.

"From 2010 the late Vice President Nkomo noticed the weaknesses in Zifa and that most of them were central to finances and he told us that we needed to have long term solutions to those problems including setting up of a Trust for not just the national teams but football as a whole. We want to be assisted to change our image, and to develop the game," he said.

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