Saturday, 8 November 2014

Cuthbert Dube opens up

Brickbats and banquets often rain on the man who leads the country's football...and Cuthbert Dube is no
exception. Gemazo Blitz assistant editor, Tatenda Makanda (TM) had an exclusive interview with ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube (CD) on his tenure, upcoming elections, Asiagate, and the Warriors. Below are excerpts from the interview.

TM: Your first term as ZIFA
President is coming to an end. Can you give us the major highlights of your term?

CD: A lot of things happened but perhaps what quickly comes to mind is the visit by FIFA president Sepp Blatter to Zimbabwe in September 2011. That was historic because it was the first time a FIFA president visited the country. We hosted and won the COSAFA Women's Championships in 2011 but perhaps the major highlight
was Asiagate. I know many think that we have taken too long to conclude the
matter but if we had not come in, our football would have really gone to the
dogs right now. We are going to make sure that it's brought to logical finality that's why I am going to lead the delegation to go to Zurich just after CHAN to conclude
the matter and establish finality. On a more positive note we have just gone through the group stages at CHAN for the first time in history.

TM: I am sure you had a couple of items on you to-do list when you got into office. Have you done everything that you wanted to do or some items are still outstanding?
Cuthbert Dube opens up
CD: No, no! In all honesty no, I have not achieved what I had said I'm
going to achieve. We have areas like qualifications but we had our own problems in terms qualifications which I can defend. Some of it has to do with funding, there was no funding from government at all. And some of it has to do with Asiagate, we spent three and half years and now it's getting into four without any concentration or focus on football development, we concentrated on Asiagate, Asiagate, Asiagate. There was also the issue of sponsorship, we did not get the sponsorship that we had been
promised. But I know the reason why, all the companies have been saying
'How can we sponsor an organisation that is tainted, that has got a bad image
like this', which is understandable. So in those areas we failed. But on the
positive side I have got more pluses than minuses.

TM: The Warriors have been on a free-fall on the FIFA world rankings lately although they moved two places up last week (105), what do you attribute this to?

CD: This is partly because of the issue I have mentioned earlier and also the fact that we have not been able to play as many international friendly matches as most
of other countries. We hope our performances at the CHAN tournament currently underway in South Africa will move us in the right direction on the rankings.

TM: How do you fancy your chances of retaining the ZIFA presidency?

CD: I will win there is no doubt about it. I have done a lot for football in this country without my contributions our football would have gone to the dogs by now.

TM: Do you know anything about your rival candidates?

CD: I know one who has come out in the newspapers who is Mr Charlie Jones and I can only go by what the media has said and other than that I don't know of any other contestant. They are yet to come, we still have got two months literally. And I would like as many as they possibly can to challenge me.

TM: There has been an outcry over the huge amounts of money ZIFA presidential hopefuls are supposed to pay before they can contest. This has been seen by
some as a deliberate ploy to elbow aspiring candidates out, how do you justify the amount which is now pegged at $5 000 reduced from $10 000?

CD: Yes, that's quite an interesting subject, you know when you go to an election the whole process has to be funded. There are so many cost centres when it comes to elections. I understand and I appreciate that there are no funds at the moment, the country is going through a very difficult period that we need to appreciate and
I do appreciate actually that there are constrains. But the election has to be funded. For your own information, ZIFA still has a debt which has not been paid from the last elections in 2010. We have got these election officers, they need to be paid, they need to be fed, they need to be housed, they need to travel, the election material
you know it's a whole lot of things to be considered. I think as ZIFA we have really climbed down by coming to $5 000 for the national elections. What we are looking for right now is to see whether we can get some company that can fund this. The
elections in their normal nature have to be funded. We have to be careful that the whole process can collapse if we don't have the funds and it's not an issue of trying to elbow some out of the race no, no, no. I want as many contestants as possible in fact it's good for ZIFA.

TM: You have received grants from FIFA and CAF recently. What are they for?

CD: FIFA has given us money to build the ZIFA head office and we are running around trying to find some land from the Ministry of Local Government and also from the City of Harare. The amount is half a million dollars ($500 000). The money is still with FIFA and will go directly to the contractors as soon as we secure the land.
There are also plans to have another block of the offices built in Bulawayo. We have also received money from CAF last week which is $120 000 to buy furniture for the conference room we have just completed at ZIFA Village. We are also expecting another grant from CAF which will cater for our CEO's car. He has been operating without a car ever since he was given that position.

TM: What will happen to your current head office at number 53 Livingstone?

CD: I christened it the House of Horror because that's where all the dirt, the rot
started. If I had my own way number 53 Livingstone would be a museum. We would make it a museum so that people would know that is where Asiagate started because that's where it started. It would be an interesting thing to have a football museum but if I don't have my way probably what we would do is to sell it.

TM: These grants from FIFA and CAF what do they mean to you?

CD: These are signs of confidence in ZIFA. We receive annual grants from these boards but the particular grants we have been talking about are extra to add on top of what they usually give us. It shows the world is appreciating our tireless efforts to put our house in order. There is no doubt about the confidence now. The fact that Zimbabwe was appointed to a standing committee in FIFA and in CAF attests to that.
COSAFA has even written to us to say Zimbabwe can you host the next COSAFA tournament. All these show confidence in the manner in which we are handling our affairs especially when it comes to monetary issues where we said instead of these grants coming to us let them go directly to the contractor.
Source: Gemazo

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