An epitome of corporate catastrophe

MUTARE – It makes sad reading, for a nation so passionate, that Zimbabwe’s senior national soccer team will not take part in 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Confirmation of this development was only a formality, as wheels of correctional justice over unfair labour practices by Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA), led by Cuthbert Dube, had already been set in motion.

The world governing body, the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) had ruled conclusively in 2012 when they initially ordered ZIFA to pay Brazilian coach Jose Claudinei popularly known as Valinhos.

Football’s world governing body said in a statement it had taken the action “as a result of the non-payment of an outstanding debt”.

FIFA added that ZIFA failed to make the payments despite a grace period.

Valinhos managed the national team from January to November 2008.

It ends Zimbabwe’s chances of reaching the finals in Russia before the Warriors have even kicked a ball.

Zimbabwe was also given several deadlines and warnings but the debt remains outstanding ZIFA is in dire financial trouble, with debts of more than US$4m, and was recently forced to auction assets from its FIFA-financed training centre to settle a legal dispute with a former employee.

So this was with some precedence of ZIFA failing to meet its obligations. ZIFA failed to meet this deadline and Zimbabweans will at least be saved the agony of yet another tale of missed opportunities so synonymous with our national “Worries” as some in the street refer to the Warriors.

An avid soccer enthusiast who spoke to 263Chat said this was government’s chance to dissolve the ZIFA board and clean up the mess which has become the beacon of the national soccer.

“This is a chance for government to get rid of ZIFA and bring in guys who can steer the ship in the right direction but this situation is truly disheartening,” said Farai Zulu.

It says volumes that this also comes in the wake of yet another embarrassing gaffe on ZIFA’s part, one which also earned the errant body a $10 000 fine from the Confederations African Football (CAF) for failure to fulfil a Mighty Warriors away fixture.

Suffice therefore to say the ZIFA ship’s radar is broken or the captain has gone missing. For how on earth can Dube and company explain to the nation plunged into heartbreak.

Not in the least this latest blow, but the perpetuation of undisciplined corporate mismanagement of the highest calibre in government parastatals and boards, is a clarion call for the immediate resignation of the entire board. Or risk I say it, the Minister responsible for Sport should even resign.

Heads should simply roll, if it may save face in the presence of such an ignominy of a failure of gargantuan proportions, in a nation already groaning in economic depression.

What multiplies injuries of this emotional torture to millions of locals is the penchant of the same said ZIFA leaders’ unparalleled thirst for hefty salaries and allowances.

To put it into perspective Dube’s reported allowances well into thousands alone were enough to sponsor the Mighty Warriors trip which would have cost around $34 000.

This matter is however nothing very new as corruption, mismanagement, misappropriation and general neglect of primary duties reigns supreme in almost all government related organizations.

As I write, tongues are still waging over revelations of the Auditor General’s Audit report of Narrative Report on State Enterprises and Parastatals which notes, “Most of the challenges that continue to plague the Zimbabwean public sector entities are of a corporate governance nature. Corporate governance is the system by which corporations are directed, controlled and held to account.

“It is about oversight of corporations by those responsible to shareholders and stakeholders. Corporate governance world over has been recognised as a tool to fight, among other ills, corruption, corporate scandals, poverty and the agency problem i.e. ensuring that directors and managers avoid serving their own interests but those of government and the people of Zimbabwe.”

The report also confirms the open secret of looting of national resources with impunity by those connected to the system, a list too long to mention.

The Auditor General also cites that “Weak control environments existed in such entities,” examples were given but this is the general trend almost across the board.

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