Afcon Warriors Row – Zifa Apologises to Mnangagwa

Phillip Chiyangwa

Following is statement from Zifa following Warriors’strike over allowances last Friday.

Warriors Allowances and Bonuses Impasse

The Zimbabwe Football Association apologises to all football stakeholders in Zimbabwe and particularly to the Acting President Cde. Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Minister of Sports and Recreation, Honourable. Makhosini Hlongwane, the Sports and Recreation Commission and our valued sponsors for the failure by the Zimbabwe senior men’s team to attend the scheduled send-off ceremony at Rainbow Towers hotel in Harare and the team’s consequent failure to travel to Cameroon for an international friendly match.

Background

The Warriors qualified for the AFCON Finals to be held in Gabon starting on the 14th of January 2017. The ZIFA Executive Committee acquired sponsorship for the tournament from NetOne and the Government of Zimbabwe to the tune of US$1 250 000 after several months of fundraising efforts to ensure that the trip is successful.

The Basis of the Impasse

Camping Accommodation.

The ZIFA Executive Committee upgraded the ZIFA village to manage the escalating accommodation costs for all national teams; however, the players refused to camp at this site citing what they termed ‘deplorable’ living conditions despite the acquisition of new furniture and a facelift of the facility. The reason behind ZIFA’s choice of this camping site was to ensure that most of the funds raised would go towards players’ welfare instead of settling astronomical accommodation bills. ZIFA believes that the state of the village is better than the lodgings which the team used during the qualification stages of the tournament. The association is open to allow stakeholders to take a tour of the village to verify this assertion. However, to allow for the preparation to continue and to preserve the image of our sponsors, ZIFA had to compromise to allow the team to check into Rainbow Towers hotel thus further depleting the little resources at hand.

Allowances

ZIFA, before the $1,000,000 injection, submitted an initial proposal to the team for allowances and bonuses totaling US$ 1 617 024. 99, which was countered by the players with their proposal totaling $2 933 150.ZIFA further revised the proposal after acquiring the US$1 000 000 injection from the Government by passing the entire $1,000,000 to the Team giving a final figure of US$ 2 645 525 a figure which was now very close to the players’ initial demand of US$2 933 150. Again, the players changed goal posts and submitted another counter proposal of US$ 5 737 250.

The second proposal from ZIFA would result in each player getting around $67,000 for a successful AFCON campaign with the Group stages earning each player an appearance fee of US$ 1 000 per match, $2000 winning bonus per match and US$6 000 qualification bonus for proceeding to the next stage. Furthermore, each player would get US$ 50 local daily allowance and $100 foreign daily allowance.On the contrary the players demands are as follows;

Local Daily Allowances – US$ 150

Foreign Daily Allowances – US$ 500

Appearance Fees Group Stage – US$ 5 000

Winning Bonuses Group Stages – US$ 6 000

Qualification Bonus – US$ 475 000

The above figures if implemented would require a total of US$2 057 750 for the first 3 matches in the Group Stages, a situation which cannot be sustained by the current cash flows!

Timing and Form of Payments

Based on the available resources and the fact that the budget is partly funded by prize money as we progress in the tournament, the players would like to get their money as the tournament progresses. This situation is not sustainable as the AFCON proceeds are only disbursed at least 30 days after the completion of the tournament.Furthermore, the players would like to be paid their money in cash and have demanded to have all their money carried to Gabon in cash which is in violation of the exchange control regulations and it is impossible considering the current cash challenges in the country. ZIFA had proposed that the players would have their money wired by the sponsors directly into their accounts at every stage of the tournament.

Other Requests

Players are also demanding that over and above the US$ 5 700 000 they be paid US$ 250 000 as qualification bonus before departure for making the AFCON finals and outstanding bonuses from the Malawi match played in 2014 totaling US$ 43 000.

The above issues have contributed to the deterioration of the situation which resulted in the team embarrassing the entire nation through their conduct on Friday, 6 January 2017. As the supreme football authority, ZIFA totally condemns the behavior portrayed by the team and their desire to hold the whole nation to ransom in their quest to earn money that this economy cannot sustain. Their behavior has put the game of football into disrepute and dashed any hopes that ZIFA had of bringing on board other potential partners as the tournament progressed.

Way Forward

ZIFA remains committed to ensuring that the AFCON tournament is successful and football’s reputation is restored.

A full investigation is underway, and should any element of sabotage be detected; action will be taken to ensure that those involved will face the full wrath of the association.

ZIFA will further take action to ensure that Zimbabwe is indeed represented at the AFCON finals.

ZIFA will take advantage of the Congress Meeting set for 7 January to discuss this matter and seek lasting solutions to avoid recurrence.

Once again the ZIFA Executive Committee is deeply sorry for this impasse and would like to see football developing and players showcasing their talents at the highest level and being ambassadors of Zimbabwe in this regard.

On behalf of the Zimbabwe Football Association,

Joseph Mamutse

Acting Chief Executive Officer

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