MINISTER of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture David Coltart has condemned the Zifa’s decision to disband the Warriors team.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
Stung by the failure to qualify for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations, Zifa last week dissolved the entire Warriors team, but shockingly spared the technical department headed by coach Rahman Gumbo.
Coltart said Zifa risked making costly blunders which could live to haunt Zimbabwean football in the future.
“It is not right for my ministry to meddle into football matters, but it is also wrong for Zifa to disband the national team for poor performance just like that,” Coltart said.
“The danger is that such a decision could be ill-advised and we might end up having a situation similar to that time when Knowledge Musona quit the Warriors. Zifa just need to make sure that they are doing the right thing which would not have negative implications in the future.”
The national team’s dissolution comes in the wake of life bans and 10-year suspensions imposed on players and officials for alleged involvement in match-fixing, a move interpreted by some football quarters as drastic.
Coltart also dwelt on the Asiagate scandal which he said should be dictated by the principles of “natural justice”.
“In as much as it is reasonable to punish those involved in the match-fixing scandal, life bans on players are not correct. Zifa needs to come up with strong evidence proving beyond any reasonable doubt that the players indeed threw away matches.”
If they believe what they have done is part of a process to start on a new clean slate, then just let natural justice prevail,” Coltart said.
The country’s supreme sports governing body, Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), have decided to take a back seat on the developments. SRC director-general Charles Nhemachena said they would not intervene, but advised Zifa’s actions to be guided by sound strategic plans.
“We do not want to drag ourselves into operational issues of national associations. We trust that Zifa believe in what they are doing, so we just hope it would be for the best in football,” Nhemachena said.
“What we would advise Zifa, just like any other national sports association, is to draw a long-term strategic plan which would guide them in everything they do. All decisions should be based on such plans.”
Former Warriors striker Joseph Ngwenya added his chorus of discontentment to Zifa’s decision to disband the national team.
Posting on his Facebook wall, Ngwenya rapped the football mother body, describing the move as inspired by “hypocrisy and amateurish-schoolboy-playground behaviour”.
“How many times have you, Zifa come up short and let players down? How will you replace the Warriors with youths that you actually failed to send to Angola for a youth qualifier? I have so many questions to ask and so little space, but I do have to ask Zifa,” Ngwenya wrote.
The ex- Los Angeles Galaxy forward said Zimbabwe should take a cue from Zambia and have football headed by former players.
Former Zifa chairman Leo Mugabe said the association had created a minefield for players.
“This is a classic case of a hen eating its eggs. The environment being created for players is not conducive. The attitude should change.”