THE Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) says it will put Zifa to task over its decision to bring the Asiagate saga to an end without consulting the government body.
By Brian Nkiwane
It emerged yesterday that the commission is demanding an all-inclusive report about how the football mother body came to such a decision.
SRC director retired Colonel Charles Nhemachena said they were yet to receive official communication from Zifa to that effect.
“We have heard about it through the media, but we have not yet received official communication from Zifa,” said Nhemachema.
“What we are going to do as SRC after getting the report is to see how Zifa handled that matter until they got to such a resolution. We are going to look at every stage of the report to see whether everything was done procedurally.
“Remember we had people who were made to pay fines while others paid appeals fees, so we need an official position on what is going to happen to all those cases. We wouldn’t want a situation where people come back to make demands after the matter is said to have been brought to an end. We would also want to hear from Zifa what they took into consideration before coming up with such a resolution.”
Zifa on Friday brought to an end the Asiagate saga by lifting all the bans that had been imposed on individuals implicated in the match-fixing scam.
Nhemachena said it was not the mandate of the SRC to bring finality to the Asiagate saga.
“I would like to put it on record that it is not the duty of SRC to call for the closure of the Asiagate. As SRC we made noise so that action could be taken and those involved brought to book to make sure that our game does not continue to be rocked by scandals,” Nhemachena said.
“We were also calling for an end to the Asiagate because after taking such a long time to conclude, the matter was impacting negatively on Zifa’s reputation. This did not affect people at Zifa only, but even ordinary people who loved football.”
However, Highlanders chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede said such a resolution should have come from SRC, not Zifa. Gumede played a key role during the Asiagate investigations when he was Zifa vice-president.
“This end to the Asiagate scandal should have had the blessings from SRC since it is the supreme sport governing body that wrote to the Wellington Nyatanga-led Zifa board requesting this matter to be investigated,” he said.
“There is no authenticity in saying Asiagate has been brought to an end without them (SRC) giving their blessings. This was not a Cuthbert Dube thing like what many people believed it was.”
He said the move by the football mother body would expose both Zifa and SRC.
“This is going to cause more problems going forward. We are going to have cases where referees will ask for money from clubs before handling matches because what they have done shows the world that they are toothless up there,” said Gumede.
But Zimbabwe Soccer Coaches association chairman Beki Nyoni said the resolution was long overdue and hailed the new Zifa board for bringing closure to the Asiagate.
“I think from all the resolutions that the board made on Friday, this was the best of them all. The fact that Fifa did not endorse the bans means that someone should have acted long back and lifted the bans,” said Nyoni.
“The fact that the board has appointed the constitutional review committee chairman means that they know very well that the current constitution needs to be looked into as it serves the interest of individuals rather than football.”
Zifa boss, Phillip Chiyangwa yesterday said the Asiagate closure was his personal view which he took to the board for discussion.
“I had a deep thought about the matter which I have always viewed as something that might hinder progress during my tenure as Zifa president. We might have chosen to give it a blind eye, but in the long-run it was going to haunt us, thus I decided to table it for discussion in the board meeting,” he said.
“Other board members also felt it was prudent for us to bring an end to the scandal. We need to move on to a fresh page. What happened should not continue to hamper progress.”
He added, “From the look of things, this so-called Asiagate was a matter of fighting people within the football family which will not take us anyway as a nation. So from now, I am looking at working with every individual who has something to offer for the development of our football. I took time to study similar cases from other countries which were not treated the same way we treated ours. Ours is just different.”