“I have tried several times but still I get empty promises and all I am saying is pay me and I go,” Valinhos was quoted as saying by our sister paper The Zimbabwe Independent in November 2008.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
“There is a new coach now to take care of the national team and I no longer have a job here. If I remain until December then I will need a letter from Zifa that I will take to Fifa for intervention.”
Valinhos had just been sacked as Warriors coach with Sunday Chidzambwa having taken over but remained stranded in Harare, desperate to go back to his native Brazil. Zifa was then headed by Wellington Nyatanga and two years after this plea, the Cuthbert Dube administration assumed office and inherited this $60 000 debt together with many others.
Now five years after Dube came into office and seven after Valinhos was relieved of his duties, the Brazilian has not been paid his dues. The matter has led to Zimbabwe being expelled by Fifa from the 2018 World Cup.
In a game where some poor African football nations spend millions of dollars on football yearly, it has now taken just $60 000 to evaporate dreams of many young local footballers who hoped to play at the biggest football extravaganza in 2018.
Twice, Fifa warned Zifa of possible expulsion from the World Cup and Zifa promised to start servicing Valinhos’ debt from January 31.
But weighed down by endless bickering within the past two terms’ boards, Zifa blindfolded themselves from attending to pertinent issues, resulting in this bungling of monumental proportion, never witnessed before.
Some time in recent years, Dube was reported to be earning half a million dollars a month from his job at a health insurance institution, more than some English Premier League players take home.
The Zifa boss has on numerous occasions also claimed to have funded the association from his pocket, but could not find $60 000 from his enormous fortunes to avoid this global embarrassment.
As has always been the case, Dube appears to have gone into hiding as the latest fiasco takes center stage.
Fifa had suggested to pay Valinhos from the from the $250 000 of their financial assistance programme to Zimabbwe firstly during Nyatanga’s tenure and again when Dube took over the reins.
All these years as Valinhos pressed them, Zifa appears to have been too busy to question what became of Fifa’s suggestion.
Zifa claim former chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwayahad given them an inpression that Valinho’s debt had been settled through the Fifa money, but when the Brazilian knocked on their door, they never sought answers from Rushwaya.
She says Zifa have entangled themselves in this wed by divorcing themselves from apt ways that can offer solutions.
Zifa have entangled themselves in this web by divorcing them“For example, Zifa owes nothing to Kentaro but they just do not follow the right ways to find solutions and now they are being chased for a non-existent debt,” said Rushwaya.
“This is almost the same situation with Valinhos but I am not saying he was paid using Fifa’s money. We have people chasing their own shadows here while ignoring the right path to get themselves out of this mess. If I had not been banned from football, I would have gone to Zifa headquarters and tell them how to free themselves.”
To underline the dire straits of Zimbabwean football, the country last week tumbled to its lowest ebb than ever on the Fifa rankings where the Warriors are now number 124 on the globe.
Minnows like Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Faroe Islands, St Vincent and Grenadines, Dominican Republic and Liechnstein are now ranked higher than Zimbabwe.