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FIFA Troubleshooting in South Africa and Zimbabwe


FIFA president Sepp Blatter has told South Africa's soccer management to get its house in order to ensure a successful 2010 FIFA soccer World Cup final. In neighboring Zimbabwe, FIFA officials have delivered a similar message.

Sepp Blatter made his appeal during his two-day trip to South Africa when he suggested that Danny Jordaan become the chief executive of the Local Organizing Committee for the World Cup finals. There has been bickering over who should get the post, but the South African Football Association says it has accepted Mr. Blatter's suggestion.

While Mr. Blatter was uniting the South Africans, a three-ma n FIFA delegation was in Zimbabwe to examine first hand the administrative and financial problems that have dogged the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) for more than a decade.

The Zimbabwe soccer body has been wracked by in-fighting and financial maladministration. Late last year, ZIFA's office equipment was auctioned when it failed to pay its debts. On Saturday, two cars, one of them donated to the association by FIFA, were also sold.

The boardroom battles have had an adverse effect on Zimbabwe's national team, The Warriors, who have been doing badly in preparing for the next World Cup in Germany and the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt in 2006.

FIFA delegation head Ishmail Bhamjee, from Botswana, said the world body will give Zimbabwe what he called "a roadmap".

"We are going to go back, draw up a complete 100 percent plan of how things should work, agree with all the stakeholders that this is the way forward," Mr.Bhamjee says.

Mr. Bhamjee urged Zimbabwean soccer administrators to put their differences aside and work together for the good of the game. In response ZIFA chairman Rafik Khan warned that Zimbabwe risks suspension if the roadmap is not adhered to.

"This is the last time, I am told, FIFA [will] come here with a roadmap and I do not want to be the chairman that will make sure Zimbabwe is suspended. Let us move ahead with a new roadmap that will be sent to us. Let us conclude in good time and let us get on with our game. Let the game win, not individuals," Mr.Khan says.

In an effort to get ZIFA solvent again, the government has offered to pay off the association's debt so that it starts on a clean slate, but it still needs much more to meet The Warriors traveling costs.