When Fifa conducted the draw for the 2018 World Cup finals in St Petersburg, Russia on Saturday, Zimbabwe was conspicuous by its absence from the preliminary stage.
It was indeed a shame for such a soccer-loving nation to miss the chance to be part of the prestigious world football showcase.
It is common cause, the no-show is a result of bungling by our soccer administrators who failed raise only $67 000 owed to former Warriors coach Jose Claudinei Georgini, better known as Valinhos. The Brazilian gaffer coached Zimbabwe from January to November 2008 and was not given his dues. He then took his case to Fifa which ruled that Zifa had to pay him or else risk being banned from the 2018 World Cup.
Zifa had up to three years to solve the Valinhos case but they chose to do nothing and disgrace the nation.
Ironically, the same day that the World Cup draw was being conducted, Zifa officials were holding their board meeting. Whatever the outcome of the meeting that ended late yesterday, there is no denying that Cuthbert Dube and his administration have committed a cardinal sin and are not deserving of forgiveness for denying Zimbabwe it’s right to participate in the World Cup.
No amount of denial or buck-passing can take blame away from Dube and the rotten Zifa administration. In other countries this group of incompetent administrators would not have lasted a day longer in office. They would have resigned in shame for failing to raise such an amount of money in a country where individuals and corporate bodies could have easily assisted if a serious appeal had been made.
Sometime in 2011 Dynamos fans raised $15 000 within 24 hours to pay Chapungu Football Club who had threatened to stop top striker Cuthbert Malajila from playing for the Harare giants until that money was paid. It was that easy.
It certainly would not have taken three years for Zifa to raise $67 000 in this manner. There would have been nothing wrong or shameful if Zifa had literary begged for the amount, a move that would have saved national football. In any case, Zifa would not have needed to take its begging bowl further than the stadiums where thousands of fans come each week for matches.There were also diamond companies that were known to throw money around like confetti that could have assisted.
But the men and women at Zifa chose not to act and as a result got the country chucked out of the World Cup in a spectacularly embarrassing fashion. This denied promising footballers such as Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiat and a host of other youngsters that constitute coach Kalisto Pasuwa’s developmental side a chance to shine on the global stage.
As a matter of urgency, such bunglers should be booted out of office.