On May 16 2015, under-fire Zifa president Cuthbert Dube survived a coup by councillors who had sought to revoke his mandate as the association’s leader, together with two other board members, Fungai Chihuri and Tavengwa Hara.
BY Brian Nkiwane/Munyaradzi Madzokere
His skin was saved by the intervention of Fifa boss Sepp Blatter, who needed Dube’s vote as he was seeking re-election as the world football governing body’s chief.
Zifa councillors were told they could only hold such an emergency meeting after June 16, way after the Fifa general election. The councillors, who really wanted to see Dube’s back, called for yet another extraordinary general meeting which was attended by Fifa representative in southern Africa, Ashford Mamelodi.
During that second meeting, Mamelodi, with the assistance of Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze, dribbled past furious councillors on a technicality which saw Dube precariously clinging on to power to this day.
With the full blessings of Fifa — who now appear fed up with the crisis at 53 Livingstone Avenue, Harare — Dube faces another day of reckoning this week when it will be decided whether he must stay or go.
The unrelenting red-hot Zifa council is set to make yet another united bid to oust Dube on Saturday.
Dube came to lead Zifa in March 2010, elected by the association’s assembly which entrusted him with the mandate to lead Zimbabwean football.
More than five years down the line, with Dube having won the 2014 elections to lead Zifa for a second term, much to the chagrin of the general public, Zimbabwean football is on its knees.
This year, Zimbabwe was booted out of the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign after failing to settle former Warriors Brazilian coach Valinhos’ seven-year-old debt which stood at $60 000 in 2009, but has since ballooned to $81 000.
Almost all national team assignments were dogged by embarrassing bungling ranging from hunger in camp, allowances boycotts, coaches abandoning ship at crucial moments and teams getting stranded due to lack of transport.
During Dube’s era, there has been a lot of hiring and firing of national team coaches, which left the already bankrupt association reeling in debt.
In June, the senior football team travelled to Malawi by bus to fulfil an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, arriving on the day of the match.
Dube also failed to stamp his authority as captain of the Zifa ship as he allowed factionalism in the camp with his “blue-eyed boys” causing all sorts of problems.
The factionalism element got so deep that his deputy, Omega Sibanda, took another direction with two other board members — Benard Gwarada and Miriam Sibanda — who were all later suspended from the association pending disciplinary hearings, which have also been scheduled for this week.
However, the three have, through their legal representation, applied for the hearing dates to be moved to a date after the October 3 meeting.
Recently, Zifa made headlines as fraud was unearthed involving money generated from the Zimbabwe-Guinea match.
Since then, the unpopular football leader has been sitting on hot coal, desperately trying to save his skin. He even undertook a countrywide tour to meet provincial affiliates as a way of soliciting for support – or sympathy — but it appears he got none.
In the wake of the Sports and Recreation Commission report by a Committee of Inquiry into the running of Zifa affairs, Dube and his divided board have preferred a hide-and-seek approach towards the sports governing body’s findings.
The report exposed the Zifa board’s failure to exercise strategic and entrepreneurial leadership, constitutional flaws which rendered the board dysfunctional, alienation of stakeholders and lack of unity in the board, among other shortcomings.
Financial mismanagement was also uncovered amid reports that Zifa failed to present audited financial statements.
The Dube administration is also accused in the report of lack of transparency and poor management of creditors, with total liabilities amounted to $6,6 million. In short, the report paints a picture of a Zifa in total ruin.
However, Dube has his own highlights for which he can raise a finger and point to say: “I also did this and that for Zimbabwean football.”
He has been pouring his money into the association during times of need, which he claims runs into about a million dollars.
Dube also becomes the only Zifa boss who has managed to put into good use Fifa grants through the Zifa Village, as well as bringing Blatter to Zimbabwe.
He, however, argues that his first term was to clean Zimbabwean football which was infiltrated by football gamblers in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal.
Millions of dollars were squandered chasing a wild goose as Fifa refused to endorse the final Zifa verdict and course of action.
It remains to be seen if Dube will survive, come Saturday.
Yesterday, the embattled administrator postponed a scheduled interview with the Standardsport to a later date.