It is exactly 10 days after Zifa president, Cuthbert Dube, commissioned the Mzanzi90 committee which was mandated to source funds for the Warriors ahead of their make-or-break tie in Angola on October 14.
Standardsport Editor, Brian Nkiwane (BN), talked to the chairman of the committee, George Manyaya (GM), on what the committee has done so far and what they intend to achieve in the last six days.
BN: What has been the biggest challenge for the past 10 days that you have been in this office?
GM: There has been a lot of challenges. I think this exercise was wrongly timed altogether, but we are going to try our best as Zimbabweans. If you look at many company policies, budgets are done at the beginning of the year and our project is being done at the end of the year when most corporates will be using the last chunks of their budgets. It becomes very difficult for them at times to break company policies and approve money out of their budget for that particular year.
BN: Do you think this is going to have a negative impact on your exercise.
GM: Definitely, but as Zimbabweans who are driven by the spirit of oneness and patriotism, we have managed to raise half of the expected budget in seven days.
BN: With the limited time that you have, do you think you will meet the target?
GM: This committee is made up of business executives who are coming from different backgrounds. I hope and trust that within the remaining days, we will be able to raise the remaining half.
What also makes it interesting is that most of the members hold positions of authority at their respective companies and I hope they will use their influence.
BN: Previous hefty bonus pledges for Warriors have failed to motivate the players. Why do you think this one will be different?
GM: we have been working with the team for a long time now (at Mbada). They now know that if we promise them something, we will always fulfill our pledge. Also, members that constitute the committee are business executives who would not want to be blamed for failing the nation at some point.
BN: How have you handled issues of accountability and transparency?
GM: The committee is composed of elders who come from respectable companies. These people have companies to protect. Above all, we have come up with a way to gather all the proceeds. The money is deposited directly into our account to avoid passing it through many hands.
We are on the verge of clinching a deal with one of the top auditing companies in this country, so that they will do the auditing of our books. We have also made sure that there are five signatories to the account, with three members coming from the committee while two are from the Zifa board.
Results of this project will be made available in the press.
BN: How did you welcome the invitation as an individual, knowing Zifa from the past.
GM: I think the current Zifa leadership has done much in as far as cleaning Zimbabwean football is concerned. It’s high time we gave them the benefit of doubt in terms of handling money. As for me, I work for a company that promotes development of sport, so when the invitation reached my table, I took it with both hands.
Even when the chairmanship post was tossed to me, I did not hesitate because I have that passion in me, that drives me to see my country make it in sport.
BN: Who are the corporates that have donated so far?
GM: To start the ball rolling was Zifa president Dube, who donated US$10 000. Mbada Diamonds chipped in with US$200 000. Buymore Investment’s also chipped in with US$5 000. I would like to thank Zimbabwe Mining Development chairman, Goodwills Masimirembwa whose organisation chipped in with US$30 000.
The other interesting thing is that the project has attracted foreign supporters such as Pearce Investments, owned by a Zimbabwean based in South Africa, Thomas Zifamba, who also donated US$5 000. Other companies that have contributed something include Conduit Investments, and Mash Investments, who have donated US$1 000, with the leading retail outlet having pledged US$1 000 worth of groceries.