- Published on 19 June 2015
- Written by Herald
PROPHET Walter Magaya, who has been injecting thousands of dollars into ZIFA coffers to support national teams, dropped a bombshell yesterday when he revealed that he was unhappy with how some of the funds have been used by the association.
The Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries leader has turned into the main benefactor of the national teams in the past few months and played a huge part in bailing out the Warriors to enable them to fulfil their 2017 Nations Cup qualifier against Malawi in Blantyre at the weekend.
Magaya and his partners intervened at the last minute after the Warriors had revolted against their leadership by refusing to board a scheduled flight to Malawi after a spectacular fallout with the ZIFA leadership over allowances and match fees.
The prophet's intervention, which saw him working overnight with the team to bring stability in their camp and enable the Warriors to travel by road to Malawi, where they defied the odds to beat the Flames 2-1 on Saturday, just hours after they had arrived in Blantyre, was widely praised by football fans in the country.
Magaya not only guaranteed that he would pay the Warriors but also organised the bus and fuel that took them to Malawi.
A number of Warriors, notably the scorer of the winning goal in Malawi, Khama Billiat, went to thank Magaya on Wednesday night, during a service held at his church in Waterfalls in the capital, for coming on hand to help them in their hour of need.
But Magaya, who visited the home-based Warriors at their training session at Rufaro yesterday, on the first day of the team's preparations for the CHAN qualifier against the Comoros scheduled for the same stadium on Sunday, said he was an unhappy man.
He said some of the funds he has given to the team were not channelled to the players and coaches.
He told ZIFA chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze, who was present at the stadium, that the association were now breaking the bond of trust that existed between the two parties which enabled him to pour funds into the national team coffers.
Magaya alleged that part of the 560 000 rand he donated to the Warriors before the COSAFA Cup tournament was used for other things and the players did not receive all that was due to them as agreed by the two parties.
Zimbabwe suffered a humiliating 1-4 defeat at the hands of Namibia in their final group game, amid reports that the players were unhappy that they had not been paid what they had been promised when they left the country for the assignment in South Africa.
"My support is to the boys. The organisation (ZIFA) or whatever is happening is not my concern. My support is to these guys (the players). Whatever I release, I am releasing to the players. I want to make it clear," said Magaya.
"I wasn't very happy on the issue of the rands that I gave (the Warriors). Some of the players did not even get them, including the coach. My support is going towards these boys, this must be very clear.
"Mr Mashingaidze, my support is not for you, is not on the ZIFA side. I'm not a political person. My support is on these guys. This is what I'm supporting. I'm not supporting your side, my side is on these guys.
"So, whatever I will support is coming straight to the boys. Is that clear? Thank you very much. I know you have got your debts, find ways of covering (that). I want to concentrate on these guys and change their life. Simple!"
The prophet promised to stand with the national team in good and bad times.
He said his interest in football should not be misinterpreted as he was driven purely by passion and the need to see his country doing well in football.
"I am a man of God who is sent to assist. So, when I see these boys looking a bit stranded it concerns me. I want them to be uplifted in their spirits and also to see that God is alive," said Magaya.
"My main aim is for all of them to give their lives to Jesus Christ at the end of all this.
"It's also my way of penetrating through their lives and making sure that I can motivate them to pray. Because when they see this coming from a man of God I believe their hearts will also desire to pray and worship this God."
Magaya said if it was possible he would consider adopting the national team.
He said it was embarrassing for ZIFA to be seen going around with a begging bowl every time the national teams had assignments.
"I love my nation, I am proudly Zimbabwean. It's not a good thing to see such a big organisation moving around with a bowl of begging each and every time. It's actually embarrassing," said Magaya.
"It's my wish to cover them in silence one of these days and make sure that their games proceed very well without anyone knowing all the constraints in the house."
He predicted that ZIFA's woes will one day come to an end.
"There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. God always creates a way. The best way and the best time will come," said Magaya.
The team finally kicked off their preparations for the CHAN qualifying match yesterday.
All the 25 players attended the first day of training with assistant coach Saul Chaminuka, who was not feeling well when the team travelled to Malawi last week, also back in good health.
Magaya was keen to meet the head coach Callisto Pasuwa when he came to the training session but the former DeMbare man and his assistant Chamunika had left the stadium early.
The Warriors, for the second time in two weeks, started their preparations late due to bickering between the coach and the ZIFA leadership over contract issues and outstanding payments.
The team will only have three days of training.
Last week they only trained for two days before the away AFCON qualifier against Malawi where they escaped with a 2-1 win.
Defensive midfielder Danny Phiri, who is one of the few experienced players in the squad, said they were looking forward to a positive start.
The Comoros are already in the country and they had they had their first training at Gwanzura in the afternoon.
Phiri said the Warriors also needed to put their house in order and get proper preparations in future.
"We have to start our training sessions early. Maybe, if we are given two to three weeks we will do very well. However, the boys are used to playing under pressure and they can rise to the task, given the chance.
"It's a big task but we need to do well. This is a very important game. We need to have a great start, to make sure that we get a win and then finish the job in Comoros," said Phiri.