Despite continued public outcry over the state of Zimbabwean football which is clearly in the Intensive Care Unit, Zifa president Cuthbert Dube has hinted that he will be seeking re-election as head of the football federation until after World Cup 2018.
By Michael Kariati
In an exclusive interview with Standardsport last week, Dube said he wants to change the fortunes of Zimbabwean football, adding that those who are saying he should go are jealous people who do not appreciate what he has done for football.
His predicament, he said, could be likened to that of the biblical Jesus who was not appreciated in his home town.
“Jesus was not accepted in his home town. I find it strange that people pile criticism on me when I am the one helping football.
Others have even gone to the extent of writing to the President seeking my expulsion, forgetting all the sacrifices I have made. They are jealous of me,” said Dube.
The Zifa president challenged whoever wants to take him head on for the Zifa presidency in the next election to come out in the open.
But the Zifa supremo, who says he pumped out US$870 000 to bankroll the Warriors and Zifa as an organisation, says he could not continue pouring out money on the association as it was not sustainable.
Dube also took the opportunity to explain why he travelled to Brazil for the World Cup closing ceremony with the chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sport, Themba Mliswa.
“I met the costs for Mliswa travelling to Brazil. The reason why I did that was for him to have a feel of what other governments do for their football association. I think from the few days that we were there, he learnt a lot on how government should assist national sporting associations.
“The national team is the responsibility of the government. I have played my part and it is now up to the government to take over. One man alone cannot do it,” said Dube.
The former Zifa board member finance and owner of Buymore Football Club said without him, the Zimbabwe national team could have been pushed out of international football due to non-participation as they did not have the money to fulfil fixtures.
He said he had to dig into his own pocket to ensure that the Warriors played against other nations, giving examples of trips to Tanzania, and Zambia which he personally financed in full.
Dube, who was part of the Zifa executive during the Leo Mugabe era in 1997, said finances have been hard to come by on the part of Zifa as the association had a tainted image which continued to chase sponsors away.
“Everything to do with Zifa is rotten. We have approached too many sponsors but upon the mere mention of the word Zifa, they closed their doors. That is what I am trying to change,” said Dube.
He denied claims that he financed the minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Andrew Langa to travel to Brazil for the World Cup, saying this was done by an international sports channel that broadcasts local football matches live on television.
As for the future, Dube says Zifa has set a plan in motion that involves Under-23 players but made it clear that some members of the current national team were open for selection for as long as the national team coach felt they were good enough.
“Whoever is going to take charge of all Warriors matches would be encouraged to use mostly a developmental side blended with senior players who are loyal to the nation.”
The Zifa president said the association was concerned with the wave of violence that has hit Zimbabwean football lately, adding that they have called for a meeting with the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to see how PSl was dealing with the matter.
He said the national football controlling body would be forced to act should they find the PSL weak in dealing with the matter.
Violence has become a cause for concern in Zimbabwean football and resulted in the death of a Highlanders supporter during disturbances that rocked Barbourfields Stadium soon after a league match two weeks ago.