Zimbabwe is in danger of missing out on the 2018 World Cup as nothing seems to be moving towards addressing the reason why we were thrown out in the first place.
Inside Sport with Michael Kariati
The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) are the reason why we are in this mess and their slowness in dealing with matters of utmost urgency is well-documented.
Time is running out and those at the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) should not relax and hope that Zifa will solve this crisis because things might get worse than they are.
All along, Zimbabweans have been made to believe that the Valinhos issue was being taken care of, or had been taken care of, until Fifa hit the country with heavy sanctions. We might find ourselves in the same predicament if the SRC does not get seriously involved.
This is no longer a Zifa matter but a national problem and the SRC must make sure that action is taken by those at Zifa instead of just listening to verbal promises that do not translate into action.
It would have been better if someone other than Zifa was tasked to handle this issue but unfortunately Fifa only deals with national football federations and not third parties.
Zifa have proved that they do not have the slightest idea how to raise funds and if the government does not chip in, then the SRC should find means to raise the funds to pay off Valinhos.
However, I would have very much loved to see the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture take the lead in this matter as failure by the Warriors to take part in the World Cup qualifiers will hit hard Zimbabwe as a country.
What would the outside world say of Zimbabwe if the country failed to pay Valinhos the $67 000, and the Warriors are thrown out of the World Cup? The story that the world would know would be that “Zimbabwe failed to pay”, not Zifa.
I don’t think it would be difficult for the minister or his deputy to convince treasury to part with something as little as $67 000.
Heads of departments in the ministry have been promising much to sport. Now is the time to keep their word and to prove that they are not as useless as Zifa.
The current sport ministry has been in existence for close to a year now and so far it has done nothing but make promises.
One football follower jokingly suggested that government forgo just one of its musical galas where musicians are paid huge sums of money to perform and instead channel the money towards the Valinhos cause.
It might sound like a joke but it makes sense.
What is also disturbing is the fact that there has been deafening silence on the part of the Ministry of Tourism. What we know for a fact is that then minister of Environment and Tourism Walter Mzembi was a key witness to the deal between Zifa and Valinhos.
Mzembi’s ministry could as well, with all that money that goes to the Miss So and So pageants, come in to help. It does not need rocket science to understand that Zimbabwe’s good show in the World Cup qualifiers will help boost the image of the country which is the co-business of the tourism ministry.
The World Cup is for all the 209 nations affiliated to Fifa and it would be unfair for Zimbabwe’s new crop of soccer heroes not to participate when everyone else is playing. Whether they win or not, participation is critical.
Yes, the draw for the 2018 World Cup preliminary rounds is far off in July, but all countries willing to take part in the World Cup qualifiers are confirmed well before that time.
Time is running out and we will have nobody to blame but ourselves should we fail to take part in the World Cup.
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