ON Thursday March 12, Zimbabweans woke up to alarming news that the country had been booted out of the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifiers over a $60 000 salary debt owed to Brazilian coach Jose Claudinei Georgini also known as Valinhos.
By our staff
The coming in of Cuthbert Dube as Zifa president in March 2010 was aimed at turning around the fortunes of Zimbabwe football which had plunged into the Intensive Care Unit.
On record, the Dube-led board inherited a $600 000 debt from the previous board.
The hiring and firing of personnel including coaches and members of the secretariat became the order of the day. This has been the biggest undoing which has seen the association sinking to the lowest deck.
The association has broken a record of hiring and firing coaches at will.
The Valinhos case which has seen the country being expelled from participating in the next edition of the World Cup is one in many as dozens other legal battles stand in their way.
Dube admitted in an interview with this publication that the association owed three former national team coaches Sunday Chidzambwa, Norman Mapeza and Ian Gorowa, for services rendered.
His board had issues with Chidzambwa who had to leave the post but later came back through his lawyers to claim unpaid salaries and allowances which amounted $67 000 for the period between November 2008 and April 2010.
As the Chidzambwa drama unfolded, the board, which was still new in office, appointed two caretaker coaches, Madinda Ndlovu and Norman Mapeza to take charge of the Warriors while they finalised the appointment of foreign coach, Belgian Tom Sainfiet.
However, things did not go well for Zifa in their bid to acquire a work permit for Sainfiet.
Sainfiet demanded cash in excess of $150 000 for the few days he was in charge of the team and this could be another time bomb that might explode and further take Zimbabwean football to its knees as the association is still to settle what the Belgian has claimed.
After the bid to bring in Sainfiet failed, Dube appointed Mapeza to the post who was later shown the exit door over allegations of involvement in the Asiagate scandal.
Mapeza took the association to court and was granted close to $400 000 in unpaid salaries and allowances as he had a running contract with the association.
The board reappointed Rahman Gumbo to the helm but after string of poor results due to poor preparations, Gumbo also parted ways with Zifa and was also owed large sums of money. In his application filed at the Bulawayo High Court, Gumbo demanded $74 000 from the football mother body.
It did not take Zifa time to appoint German Klaus Dieter Pagels to take over from Gumbo on a government to government agreement but he had to say goodbye at the expiry of his contract.
Zifa then appointed former Warriors striker Ian Gorowa on a verbal basis. Like all other coaches, Gorowa has outstanding, salaries and allowances which Zifa still owe him. Soon Gorowa could soon be knocking on the association’s doors with his lawyers demanding his dues.
Their human resources practice has left many with questions than answers as the association continue to battle legal matters.
Only a few weeks ago, Zifa property, some of which was part of the Fifa Goal project was auctioned to pay off an outstanding debt to former communications officer Nicky Dhalamini-Moyo who was sacked in 2012.
What is worrying is that the Labour Court had granted Dhlamini-Moyo an award of $8 000 but the Zifa secretariat did not act on the instruction. This resulted in the former communications officer’s dues escalated to almost $88 000 in interests and legal fees.
Another matter that Zifa has to deal with involves former Zifa employees Harriet Samukange, Tafirenyika Chitsungo, Christopher Emmanuel and Munyaradzi Siwatsi, who all voluntarily retired in August 2011 and later took the association to the Labour Court where they were also granted $100 000 as severance packages.