Ray Bande Senior Reporter
ZIFA president, Felton Kamambo, has said the 2020 season is highly unlikely to see the light of day, adding that consultations on the official cancellation of this year’s football action are now underway.
ZKamambo said this on Sunday in a wide ranging interview with Post Sport in Mutare.
He also revealed that Zifa intends to construct 20 new stadia across the country, with the first 10 expected by 2021.
Kamambo, who was in the eastern border city for the second time during his running term, met Eastern Region councillors to discuss the Covid-19 bailout funds’ disbursement modalities.
The Zifa president was in the company of Philemon Machana, Sugar Chagonda and Brightom Malandule.
“When we were ushered into office, we promised affiliates that we would visit them quarterly. This is part of the reason why we are here.
“When I came here last year, Cyclone Idai had just destroyed parts of Chimanimani and Chipinge and the association was offering a helping hand.
“We are back again focusing on the Covid-19 issue. The cake is small, but we need to share this money with our affiliates. Initially we invited the Premier Soccer League (PSL) for a meeting and they made some recommendations.
“The PSL recommended payments in foreign currency. The board will discuss that. The regional bodies also made their recommendations. While we had allocated U$$20 000 to PSL as an office grant, the regions and other affiliates are saying they also need the grant since they too have offices to run.
“Some affiliates are requesting to get their share in United States dollars, while others are content with getting it in local currency given the small difference on the parallel and official auction market rates,” he said.
Kamambo also revealed that there are plans to amend the Zifa constitution to accommodate the changes happening within the association.
“Affiliates said they need to put their submissions in writing and have their ideas factored in. A committee will come up with a draft constitution which will be distributed for further scrutiny before our Annual General Meeting,” he said.
“However, no major changes will be made on the constitution. Our constitution was last revised in 2013 so Fifa has recommended that we re-look at it and align it with Fifa statutes.
“At the end of the day, if there are any changes to be done and they are approved by the AGM, they will be implemented.
“We want our constitution to look at the changes that are happening within Zifa. The formation of the boys and girls’ youth leagues were not catered for in the constitution. We will also introduce regional women’s leagues so we need to review the constitution and accommodate all this,” Kamambo said.
On the resumption of football action, the Zifa president did not mince his words as he said that is highly unlikely to happen this year.
However, a report from the committee set up to look into safe return to football action is expected in a fortnight.
“We had planned to resume in September but of late, Covid-19 cases are going up. It is highly unlikely that we will have football action this year, but we need to involve all stakeholders in the decision making process.
“To that end, we are coming up with an exhaustive document so that affiliates can highlight whether they can resume play or not.
“Resuming action entails playing in empty stadia, yet ticket sales are the only source of revenue for our self-sponsored clubs,” he said.
Zimbabwe went into lockdown in March at a time when the Warriors’ match against Algeria was supposed to have been played in a neighbouring country after Caf had condemned all local match venues.
In Mutare, Sakubva Stadium has gone for four years without hosting any Premiership football matches owing to its derelict state.
Kamambo is excited about the progress being made in sprucing up sporting facilities across the country.
“There has been a great improvement on our stadia. The National Sports Stadium, Barbourfields and Sakubva Stadium have been spruced up. When we resume our national team engagements, this means we will be playing at home.
“The Covid-19 break has given us an opportunity to renovate our facilities,” he said.
The Zifa president said the association will soon embark on a mission to construct two new stadia in each province across the country.
“We have already engaged Fifa on a project that will see us constructing 20 stadia across the country.
“According to our strategic planning, we want to do the first 10 by 2021. By 2024, the project must have been completed, whether I’m still in office or not. We will start with the fields of play, before moving to precast walls and then the sitting areas. These are basic stadia so it can be done,” said Kamambo.
According to online sources, costs of building the most basic soccer stadium can range between $1,6 million and $4,1 million. Add in things like football goalposts, club boxes, individual seats, improved amenities and facilities, etcetera, and the price will skyrocket.