Zimbabwe might pull out of World Cup qualifying as they can't afford to participate

Bankrupt football association can no longer pay for international commitments, putting their World Cup participation in jeopardy for a host of SA-based PSL stars

Zimbabwe might have to forego their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign because their football association is bankrupt and cannot pay the expenses for the March trip to Egypt.

The warning comes from Zifa vice president Ndumiso Gumede on the back of instructions to Zimbabwe from Fifa to clear their debts, which now total US$4-million.

“Fifa have said to us don’t get yourselves involved in games unless you have a full government guarantee or sponsorship that covers accommodation, match expenses and all incidentals.

“That means even if someone says let’s play a match for US$100 000 appearance fee and if that US$100 000 is not enough to cover for everything then we may have to forego that opportunity,’’ Gumede told reporters in an end of the year review of footballing matters in Zimbabwe.

“Unless Government chips in and funds the match against Egypt, we are better off paying a huge fine of about US$50 000 to Fifa than accruing another huge debt to fulfill the game.”

Gumede said Fifa’s tough stance had also forced them to review their international obligations with Zifa now set to withdraw from all games and competitions for which they do not have substantial financial backing.

Zimbabwe are set to travel to Cairo on the weekend of March 22-24 to resume their World Cup qualifying campaign before hosting the Pharaohs in Harare on June 7.

Zimbabwe already had to withdraw their under-20 and under-17 teams from the continental championships for a lack of finances.

“So come January 1, we are not going to take part in any games unless there are tangible financial commitments to cover for everything, including incidentals.

“It has been Fifa’s observation that the more we commit ourselves to fulfilling a lot of matches, the deeper we are sinking in terms of our debt and when you look at it closely you can see that it is true,” Gumede added.