Zimbabwe: Zifa restructuring committee begins work

Senior Sports Journalist

The ZIFA Restructuring Committee has begun its rollout programme, with the independent body set to carry out in-depth investigations into some of the issues raised by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC).

The nine-member committee which was appointed in December by the SRC deals with matters of a strategic nature, as stated in its terms of reference, in accordance with the provisions of Article 21, 19 (b) and 20 (c) of the SRC Act .

The term of the committee runs until December 2022.

The SRC hopes that ZIFA will join the FIFA family before the end of the year.

It was revealed at the Sports Committee press conference on Monday that the Restructuring Committee, chaired by lawyer Blessing Rugara and made up of highly experienced members drawn from different portfolios in the corporate, banking and football, had begun its work.

The mandate of the committee is to review the structures of the game which include the constitution of the ZIFA.

The committee will also, among other things, ensure that a forensic audit of ZIFA’s finances is carried out and, in cases of proven financial misconduct, it will escalate the cases to the relevant authorities in the country.

At the CBC press conference on Monday, Commissioner Karen Mutasa expressed her confidence in the independent body.

“They take this matter very seriously and they want to make sure they do it in a professional manner according to their terms of reference,” Mutasa said.

“They do it professionally, and they engage with the right companies, for example, forensic auditing. They know they have to do things…and as they said this morning (Monday) they don’t. I don’t just want to condone some of the things that we’ve complained about. They’ll make sure that the investigations are thorough, that everything they do is within the law, that they are aware of everything that FIFA, CAF, SRC and the government want, and the laws of each of these structures.They are seized of the matter and have timelines,” said Mutasa.

Another commissioner, Colleen de Jong, added that the work of the committee had begun.

“The Restructuring Committee has a very comprehensive mandate. It is fully structured. This morning (Monday) we had an update meeting with them… Needless to say, everything on the agenda has deadlines, and you’ll be sure to be hired by them shortly.

“Obviously that’s a very long list of issues to deal with. But you just need to know that they’re on the case,” she said.

The committee is expected to carry out its duties away from media scrutiny and will only update the Fourth Estate once it is ready.

However, the committee will conduct a stakeholder engagement process, discussing what it considers to be relevant issues as well as football development with multiple stakeholders, including the media.

Sports committee chairman Gerald Mlotshwa argues the committee would have accomplished its mission if the general football population were happy with the restructuring process.

Mlotshwa says his board is action-oriented and will serve the interests of Zimbabwean football stakeholders.

Other members of the committee are leading sports expert Tommy Sithole, former Zimbabwe Olympic Committee chief executive and International Rowing World Federation development manager Anna Mguni, banker Desmund Ali, lawyer Rudo Mugandani, former SRC Matabeleland provincial coordinator Brian Busani Moyo, Doves Holdings Marketing managing director Joel Gombera, former CAPS United administrator Joyce Kapota and CAPS United legend Charles “Raw Meat” Sibanda. The Committee’s operations are funded by the CBC. And the recommendations of the committee, after approval by the SRC, will be implemented.

Some of the focus areas that should be improved after the consultations are youth football development, women’s football, rebranding of ZIFA as well as strategic planning and electoral roadmap.

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