Zimbabwe Government Has No Soccer Funds

Biti who met with ZIFA’s chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya said: “We have another priorities than financing the clubs to participate in the Champions League.”

He said the clubs had made a commitment themselves by playing in the preliminary and could not pull out in the first round.

Depite starting their Champions League and Confederation Cup campaigns on a winning note, Zimbabwe’s representatives Gunners, Lengthens, CAPS United and Dynamos saddled by a crippling financial burden have threatened to withdraw from the continental competitions if they fail to secure any funding.

The four clubs, who will need at least US$700 000 between them to survive the early stages of their campaigns, on Wednesday took their plight to the mother body- Zifa and told the association that they were seriously mulling a withdrawal from the competitions before the first round gets underway.

It is against this background that the quartet of Dynamos interim treasurer Harrison Mbewe, Gunners president Cuthbert Chitima, CAPS United director Farai Jere and Lengthens president Musa Gwasira met with Zifa chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya and painted a gloomy picture of the problems they are facing.

The clubs, whose directors have continued to dig deep into their personal coffers to try and sustain their teams’ campaigns, reiterated to the Government and the Sports Commission that despite promising campaigns, their dire financial plight meant they would have to pull-out from the competitions.

Chitima whose Premiership champions Gunners completed a comprehensive 6-1 aggregate win over Mafunzo FC of Zanzibar said although they were committed to flying the nation’s flag, his side could be forced to pull out before their next assignment — a massive showdown with six-time winners and Egyptian giants Al Ahly.

Gunners are expected to host Al Ahly in a first round, first leg tie at Rufaro on March 20 before travelling to Cairo for the return leg a fortnight later.

Meanwhile four Premier Soccer League have been retained unopposed but Twine Phiri and Eric Rosen will fight it over the chairman’s post in elections set to be held on Saturday at St Lucia Park.

Rosen and Phiri will battle for the chaiman’s post that has been left vacant by the outgoing chairman Tapiwa Matangaidze who standing in the ZIFA presidential elections on March 27.

Rushwaya confirmed that four candidates have been retained unopposed in the Premier Soccer League executive posts

Themba Ndlela has been retained unopposed for the vice chairman’s post. He will be confirmed on Saturday as the vice chairman and will take over from Willard Manyengavana who is not standing.

Manyengavana is standing for the vice chairman of the Northern Region.

Ndlela is set to step down as the Highlanders when assumes his new post.

Sihlangu Dlodlo has been retained unopposed for the secretary’s post. The Bantu Rovers secretary is also set to down from his club post. Dlodlo a renowned Bulawayo based playwright takes over from Kennedy Ndebele who resigned last year.

Musa Beadle Gwasira has also been retained unopposed as the fixtures secretary. He takes over from Godfrey Japajapa who did not seek reelection. Gwasira bankrolls Lengthens football club.

Cuthbert Chitima has also been retained unopposed as the committee member development. This is a new post in the Premier Soccer League. Chitima is the owns reigning premiership champions Gunners.

The real battle is the chairman’s post, which pits Phiri and Rosen. Phiri owns the premiership club CAPS United while Rosen is the owner of the Motor Action.

This is the first time that the premiership chairman’s post has pitted the current club owners.