The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Zifa to Venture Into Farming

ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube says his association will venture into farming and mining to generate income for the national teams and the organisation's operations from next year. The association have already launched a platform dubbed "Dollar for Football" project to appeal to every Zimbabwean to spare, at least a dollar or its equivalent, for football.

That money will be poured into general administration, grassroots development, marketing, competitions, infrastructural development, equipment, high-profile events and national teams.

Speaking at a fundraising dinner organised by the Golden Jubilee Committee on Thursday night, Dube said it was time that Zifa diversify its operations.

The dinner, however, was poorly attended as the business community, for unknown reasons, decided to stay away on the night.

There were many empty tables in sight as a few items that included soccer balls, CDs and Albert Nyathi's forthcoming book called "My daughter" were auctioned.

Legends like George Shaya, Stanford "Stix" Mtizwa gave some colour to the event, but the overall low turnout should have been a big cause for concern for the association.

Zifa had hoped to mark their 50 years of existence in grand style with a series of events spread throughout the year and culminating in an awards banquet.

"It is no secret that the game is faced with a huge debt crisis which literally disables the association's operations.

"The debt has to be serviced and once more the 'Dollar for Football' project will service the debt crisis in order for the association to function as a going concern.

"Resources mobilised through this project will be accounted for in other projects which the Trust will implement on behalf of Zifa and include sale of merchandise, exploitation of television and commercial rights and commodity broking.

"The association will also be venturing into farming, mining, manufacturing and event management as from next year.

"Football is bigger than some of those individuals who have ventured into the aforementioned and struck a fortune," said Dube.

The Zifa boss said this team, which was tasked to co-ordinate the events, will soon come up with a date when the country's football luminaries will be recognised.

The association's Golden Jubilee celebrations, which have been stalled by financial challenges, will be held before the end of this month.

Unfortunately, the year has largely been quiet because of the unavailability of funds.

Despite the challenges Dube said they have planned to hold an awards night later this month to honour the people who contributed to the game in the last half century while plans are still afoot to set up a Hall of Fame by February next year.

"Zimbabwe Football turned 50 this year in May and in keeping with tradition, we have every reason to celebrate our coming of age.

"The past 50 years have met with mixed fortunes but the bottom line is that we should celebrate our existence," he said.

"A colourful awards night during which the icons of our game are going to be knighted, is set for this month.

"We will be congregating once more to witness the crowning of the kings, princes, queens and princes of our beloved game.

"Beyond the Golden Jubilee awards, the Zimbabwe Football Association shall roll out the 'Hall of Fame' project.

The Hall of Fame shall house artefacts, memorabilia and figurines of Zimbabwe football's greats.

"The ground-breaking ceremony of the Hall of Fame is set for February next year at the Zifa Village," said Dube.

Lack of trust in the association's tainted brand has scared away potential sponsors despite efforts by the current board to convince the business world that they have made headway in cleansing the game of its bad image.

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