ZIFA have cast some light on why they haven't claimed the US$2,4 million, which has been lying in FIFA coffers, the bulk of which could have been used by the association for development on infrastructural projects.
The Herald revealed last month that the world football controlling organisation have been sitting on US$2,4 million of ZIFA's unclaimed funds, by the end of 2018, part of which could have been used to spruce up our grounds. The funds were part of the first cycle of the Forward Development Programme.
The Football Association of Malawi renovated their 10 000-seater Mpira stadium, which opened its doors last year, using some of the funds earmarked by FIFA for such purposes. ZIFA acting vice-president, Philemon Machana, explained yesterday why they have not accessed those funds since 2016. "The 2,4 million you refer to couldn't be accessed before the legacy debt was sorted, as such, (those funds) would immediately be attached," he said.
"We made a deliberate decision, even during Dr Philip Chiyangwa's presidency, to first have the debt cleared. In short, the then ZIFA board, and the current, avoided wasting resources in this fashion. The new board has now managed to convince FIFA that part of our funds be used to cure the debt, once this is done, we access the funds. But such funds cannot even be used to renovate stadia that are not owned by ZIFA unless there is a long lease which allows ZIFA and its affiliate clubs to use the facility without paying for an agreed period to recoup the investment.
"The idea is to avoid what happened with Rufaro where the artificial turf was put up by the then ZIFA but ZIFA was being charged for use by the council. Further, other areas like women football, youth, technical development will get a slice to ensure the whole football movement benefits. We, thus, continue lobbying owners of these Stadia to bring them to required standards not just for CAF, but because it is best practice and if our football is to develop all facets of the game must be top-notch and not a compromise."