BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
UNDERFIRE Zifa board members have finally opened up on how they used funds that were donated to the association ahead of the Caf Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Egypt in 2019.
The Felton Kamambo-led board was last week suspended by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) for, among other reasons, failure to account for the money it got from government and where they got funds to charter a plane to Cairo.
According to the SRC, the Zifa board failed to respond to questions over their use of public funds since 2019.
The suspended board members, however, argue that the money they get from Fifa are private funds that the SRC should not be asking about.
Fifa granted US$500 000 to each member association for administrative and development projects.
It is Zifa’s contention that the funds which the SRC alleges to have been misused during the Afcon tournament in Egypt were private funds.
One Zifa board, who requested anonymity, said they only got US$53 000 from government which was accounted for in the December 2019 audited accounts.
He said the rest of the money they used for the Egypt trip was from Fifa.
“It is surprising SRC is accusing Zifa of mismanaging private funds. The funds used to charter a flight to Egypt are private funds from a Fifa grant which we use for administrative purposes, among other things. Government only gave us US$53 000 which is accounted for in the audited accounts. We gave both Fifa and SRC the audited accounts.
Fifa also sent their auditors. You must also remember we are the first Zifa executive committee to have audited accounts after a very long time. And to suggest using private funds to ferry supporters and journalists to go and support a national cause is a violation of national interests is absolute nonsense. We even use some of these funds to pay employees,” he said.
Other suspended board members are Philemon Machana, Sugar Chagonda, Brighton Malandule, Farai Jere and Barbra Chikosi.
Zifa have since reported the matter to Fifa.
Meanwhile, the SRC is waiting for Sports minister Kirsty Coventry to put in place an interim committee to run the affairs of the association until a new board is constituted.