MASVINGO United’s prospects of playing in the Eastern Region Division One league suffered a heavy blow after Zifa management dropped the bombshell that no team would be allowed to kick a ball before paying their affiliation fees in full.
By Nyambira Chivasa
The teams are also required to physically bring their full board members before registration with Zifa, Standardsport has established.
This might signify the crumbling of a football empire that Masvingo business mogul Tanda Tavaruva built over the years until after 2009 when the Masvingo bus operator pulled out citing economic hardships and gave the team to the Masvingo community.
Since then the team has been experiencing cash problems. They were at one point sponsored by another Masvingo businessman Petros Mutema in partnership with a South African drinking manufacturing company Zimanzi and even went to the extent of changing their name to Zimanzi Masvingo FC.
However Zimanzi pulled out of the deal in 2010 under unclear circumstances,, leaving Mutema to shoulder the financial burden alone.
Mutema failed to pull through and Masvingo lawyer Philip Shumba of Mutendi and Shumba Legal Practitioners took over, but this has not helped matters either.
As if that was not enough, the deal with OG Sport, a clothing manufacturing company which was going to see them getting home, away and training kit, suffered a still birth after the company only managed to supply 35 soccer jerseys and 40 bibs.
Masvingo United FC have been operating without a board since last season with only team manager and sponsor Philip Shumba running the team with the help of team secretary Moses Ncube.
The team is reeling under a debt of US$4 700 which they owe Zifa without anyone to bail them out.
Lack of a proper board and a viable team account has been the major stumbling block in the team’s quest to secure sponsors. No sponsor wants to associate themselves with a team that does not have established administration structures.
Standardsport caught up with team secretary Ncube and Zifa Eastern Region manager Thadeous Machawira in an effort to get a clear picture on what went wrong in the once professionally ran club.
“We have not attracted any sponsorship and we have been surviving from gate takings. We have not fulfilled our obligation to pay Zifa affiliation fees and as we speak now we haven’t raised a cent towards club registration, let alone other expenses.” lamented Ncube.
“Zifa has also advised us that we are not going to kick the ball this time around if we fail to pay affiliation fees. We have got a staggering US$4 700 bill that we have to settle with Zifa before the season starts. We are appealing to well-wishers to come and bail us out. We are actually appealing for sponsorship or else we won’t survive this time around” he said.
Ncube said players were getting paltry allowances and only passion for the game was the pushing factor.
Masvingo United finished on a respectable third position on the log last season. Machawira however said it was not only Masvingo that was to face sanctions.
“We have decided that no team will play without paying their affiliation fees. It is not Masvingo alone that is going to be affected. Ruwa FC owes us US$3 000, Chivhu Stars owes us US$5 500 with Gaza Gunners and ZRP Masvingo owing us US$3 700 each. These figures include Zifa affiliation fees which is US$2 500 plus arrears accrued since last year,” said Machawira.