Dynamos FC in action.
Hope Chizuzu - THE just ended football season in the country has emboldened the otherwise known but unadmitted fact that as a country we are a big joke. The narrative has been the same. The journalists have written the same script. The government has been utterly the same silent ducks and yet the Zimbabwe Football Association has been as clueless as they been since 2010.
No lessons have been learnt. No mistakes corrected. No ideas borrowed either, despite endless meetings either at COSAFA, CAF or FIFA. Our league has been dying a slow natural death like crops succumbing to drought. But what has been interesting has been that ZIFA for all their wisdom decided to banish all national teams as a way of finding a solution to the failure to qualify for any competitions.
What has not been explained is how that helps our football grow. Since our failure to qualify for the 2010 AFCON in Angola and World Cup in South Africa, AFCON 2012 in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, AFCON 2013 in South Africa, World Cup 2014 in Brazil and the AFCON 2015 to be played in Equatorial Guinea in January, Dube and his team of administrators fronted by one Jonathan Mashingaidze have disbanded the national team.
What have we achieved out of that enforced recess? Have there been questions from either government or media over that issue? Why has the minister responsible for sport kept his mouth shut over such a decision? Why have the media taken a back seat and let things go south each time under this leadership? Have the whole country become an accomplice to such crimes? Are we such a joke not see where all our problems are coming from?
I have been a part of a team of journalists who sat to discuss the technical report for each of the last four AFCON tournaments and the analysis from the writers has been that Zimbabwe has so much talent both in players and coaches and the only reason they have been playing this poorly has been down to leadership. Actually, the lack thereof has been the reason.
"Zimbabwe is one of the technically endowed nations in Africa, with a lot quality in their ranks. They can play good football and are competitive, but what has been the problem is the lack proper leadership. Those that run football in the country have been their undoing. We had reports of players and coaches going unpaid and that is a bad sign and it significantly affects the team performance.
"As CAF we are concerned about that. We have tried to assist them by offering those courses but sadly they keep on sending the same people to those courses and the impact has been absent. As a country they have to find ways of solving this huge cancer because football in that country is suffering," read an AFCON 2013 report.
The report was sent to all affiliates of CAF and it has not been discussed by either the ZIFA board or has the media seen it fit to publish its contents. And that is where our problems are. If we cannot face up to our issues how are we going to solve our problems or let alone seek assistance?
Only last week the biggest football brand in the land Dynamos, won the league for the fourth time in a row and 20 times overall but they shocked the nation and the region by announcing that they will not be participating in the CAF Champions League 2015 because they do not have the funds for the exercise. Honest, yes. But it is a poor decision that mirrors the state of our game.
For winning the title Dynamos will only get USD75 000 for the 30 weeks of toil. Delta through their Castle brand bankrolls the league yet pay just enough for one trip to North Africa in the African safari and we have our league leadership led by one Twine Phiri parroting that we have sponsorship in the game. Sponsorship that is not good enough to pay off expenses for the season. What a joke?
The fans feel Dynamos let them down by pulling out but Keni Mubayiwa and his executive made a shrewd football decision by pulling out because playing continental football requires money. DR Congo giants TP Mazembe and serial champions have a budget of USD5 million for the safari although they can only win USD1.5 million at the end.
As a nation we need to re-evaluate ourselves and see whether we still deserve our positions and roles. Off course we do not have a culture of resigning if we fail, but I think this is the joke that has not been fun, we need to banish and let our game live again. Football is bigger than individuals and government need to help by getting more involved.
We cannot afford to have our national team on endless recess because ZIFA in their selfish interests think it is the best way to ward off criticism. No. We cannot allow Dynamos to stall progress for players by opting out of tournaments due to lack of funds. Government cannot just sit there and watch our game die. It is our thing and ours together that is why they all cram our stadiums when teams are doing well and vanish when they waiver like they have been doing lately.sports