The National Football Association of Zimbabwe, NFAZ President, Phillip Chiyangwa, told lawmakers Thursday his board took a decision to dissolve the Zimbabwe Football Association or ZIFA because it was insolvent and could not pay its workers and creditors as well as carry its mandate.
Chiyangwa said they filed for bankruptcy and will not pay creditors or anyone owed by ZIFA adding they were taking the necessary legal steps to move away from ZIFA affairs.
Giving evidence during an enquiry by parliamentary sports and arts committee, into the dissolution of ZIFA and formation of NFAZ, Chiyangwa said his board had to take a brutal decision to dissolve ZIFA because it was insolvent and could not operate owing to creditors knocking at the association’s door, property being attached and funds being garnished at the bank.
He said ZIFA was unable to pay and won’t pay and NFAZ won’t pay either.
NFAZ legal advisor, Itayi Ndudzo, weighed in saying ZIFA’s insolvency was qualified by ZIFA’s accountants at that time, Barker Tilly and Gwatidzo.
He said it did not make sense to proceed with ZIFA with the full knowledge that it could not pay its creditors and services providers.
Ndudzo said it was in that context that a decision to dissolve ZIFA was taken at its extraordinary congress on 4 June and form NFAZ.
He said meeting NFAZ resolved not to simply wake away from the ZIFA debts but to properly manage the debtor and creditors in a legal manner.
According to Ndudzo, this why an application for the sequestration of ZIFA was made. The High Court is yet to make a decision on the matter.
ZIFA’s debt to former coaches, players, workers, and other service provider such as the national airline and Air Zimbabwe amounts to more than $6 million dollars.
Zimbabwe was kicked out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup for failing to pay former national team coach, Jose Claudinei Georgini of Brazil.
Chiyangwa told lawmakers the transition from ZIFA to NFAZ was good and it was yielding results as the national football team and the women’s team have qualified for the African Nations Cup and Rio Olympics respectively.
He also claimed NFAZ had secured a multimillion dollar sponsorship from state owned telecommunications company, Netone, individual businesspeople and FIFA.
But lawmakers asked him why the NFAZ was getting funding from businessmen like Wicknell Chivhayo an ex-convict who has also been implicated in fraudulent deals at another state enterprise, ZESA.
But Chiyangwa said he did not care who gave the association money as long as it was meant for promoting football.
Earlier on stakeholders including creditors, former football administrators and had expressed concern to the lawmakers at the manner the ZIFA dissolution was handled and failure to pay workers and service providers.
Former ZIFA administrator, Lazarus Mhurushomana said the problems bedeviling football and other sports was due to government’s lack of seriousness in financing sports in the country.
The enquiry adjourned after a visibly sick Chiyangwa asked to be excused as he had to fly to South Africa for an appointment with a doctor. The lawmakers obliged and the enquiry will continue at a date to be advised.