ZIFA pays over $8 million in dissolution of legacy debt

the herald

Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Journalist
Over the past few weeks, ZIFA has been busy clearing the inherited debt that has haunted it for years and crippled its operations.

The national soccer governing body has already paid out $8 million to its creditors, which is a huge development for an organization that has been limping for some time.

Although the association chose not to declare its cleaning exercise, many creditors, who have since been paid, have confirmed that they have received their due.

The ZIFA board will meet in Harare today to discuss a number of issues that have plagued football since the Covid-19 pandemic brought play to a halt in the country.

The local football governing body recently received $500,000 from FIFA for its running costs and it was unclear if any of that money had been used to clear inherited debt from the past.

ZIFA has been swimming in the red for a few years, with debt amounting to around $10 million.

But, in recent weeks, they have settled their debt with CBZ Bank, which was previously hosted by the Zimbabwe Asset Management Company (ZAMCO), which handles non-performing loans.

CBZ Bank owed $1,795,000.

It was unclear whether the debt had been entirely written off.

ZAMCO general manager Cosmas Kanhai only confirmed the payment, but declined to comment on the balance.

“They made a large payment to their account, but I can’t tell you the balance due to customer confidentiality,” Kanhai said.

“You can confirm the figures with ZIFA or, if they give us the green light to share this information, we can do so freely.”

Confirmed sources The Saturday Herald that a large part of this debt has been paid.

“If there is anything, in terms of that debt remaining, then it’s a very small amount,” the sources said.

“Most, if not all, of that debt has been paid off, but of course there is still the issue of some charges here and there. But what I can tell you is that the issue of this debt is now a thing of the past.

The debt of the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has also been paid.

Former ZIFA President Cuthbert Dube was also paid approximately $900,000 owed to him after securing loans, on behalf of the association, during his tenure as head of the association.

National team coaches, to whom ZIFA also owed various sums since 2010, are also being paid.

It has emerged that former Warriors manager Rahman Gumbo, who chaired the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, has been paid.

Rahman owed $78,000 for this adventure.

Other former Warriors coaches who were owed by ZIFA are Norman Mapeza ($245,000), Callisto Pasuwa ($103,000) and Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambwa ($67,000).

The trio are managed through FIFA’s Gibson Mahachi, who told this publication his clients have yet to be approached by the association for verification and payment.

As for Chidzambwa, ZIFA disputed the amount the veteran gaffer claimed the association owed him, when he took them to the High Court in 2010.

The coach claimed he only received US$23,000 out of a total of US$90,000 owed to him when he resigned in April 2009.

He had secured the head coaching position with Free State Stars in the South African Premiership.

It was unclear last night if Chidzambwa was also due to the Warriors’ adventure in the AFCON final in Egypt last year.

Pasuwa, who is now a coach in Malawi, chaired the Warriors AFCON 2017 qualifiers and finals.

He was in charge for a year after his appointment in 2016.

Former Warriors coach Charles Mhlauri also owed $17,270 while Nelson Matongorere owed $113,463. To date, the sources say, the association has paid more than $8 million, starting with major creditors.

ZIFA officials, however, are reluctant to reveal more details regarding their debt settlement exercise.

The sources said ZIFA officials wanted to complete the exercise first before talking about it publicly.

ZIFA President Felton Kamambo urged anyone to whom the association owes money to get verified by its auditors.

The Herald understands that the association’s auditors, who were contracted to assist ZIFA in the debt verification exercise, have covered considerable ground.

Other notable creditors who were part of the debt legacy include Zimbabwe Revenue Authority ($504,998, 62), Pandari Lodges and Conference Center ($268,436), Kentaro International Match Agents ($600,000) , the NSSA ($149,517, 14), the Sports and Recreation Commission ($180,386, 40) and Led Travel & Tours ($244,527).

Meanwhile, COVID-19 and its lockdown-induced effects will take center stage today when the ZIFA Board meets in Harare.

The meeting is expected to discuss how the governing body can help its constituency at a time when clubs and players are feeling the full brunt of the crisis.

Pamela W. Robbins