In what was the most bizarre thing to happen to modern day football, the Zambian national soccer team came here last week hoping to play Zimbabwe in the African Nations Championships (Chan) final round, first leg match, but that was not to be.
Final Whistle with Simba Rushwaya
The match officials, from Cameroon, were holed up in Kenya at the time they were supposed to be officiating at Rufaro.
They were trapped in Nairobi after a fire ravaged Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, disturbing flight schedules.
In the end, the match had to be rescheduled to today, but that did not go without drama as our football landscape was once again caught in a dilemma resulting from a power struggle between the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa).
The PSL, who are running behind schedule after a long break that accommodated the Warriors and elections, declared that they were going to play midweek games to gain ground on their fixtures – something that did not go down well with Zifa, who wanted players in camp in preparation for today’s match.
Even Warriors coach Ian Gorowa was sucked in the ensuing combat, resulting in him threatening to quit his post.
While in the past, I have squarely blamed Zifa, today I’m taking my stick to the Confederation of African Football (CAF), who surprisingly decided to send officials all the way from West Africa for a match in Zimbabwe.
What is so special about Aurelien Juenkou and his assistants Fuanta Joseph Lambi, Elvis Noupue and Christopher Nde to deserve a trip of thousands of miles at the expense of other match officials from neighbouring countries, if not regions like East Africa?
The fact that they are Cameroonians — compatriots to CAF president Issa Hayatou — stinks in heaven. It would appear this was a job just for the boys.
Are there no competent referees from within the region?
Hayatou is a delusional leader who has overstayed and is now inebriated by power. Anything goes for this Cameroonian.
His 26 years at the helm of CAF have made him a demi-god in African football. For a man who has in the past been implicated of taking bribes, we are not surprised he runs the continental football governing body like his fiefdom.
But then who can blame him? The same football federations that’s suffering under his leadership worship him, including our own Zifa. Zifa were part of the uncouth clause that enshrined in the CAF statutes, that only those in the CAF executive committee could oppose Hayatou at a special congress held in Seychelles recently, leaving the former 800 metres Cameroonian athlete, the only candidate for CAF presidency.
It is a shame.
Zifa are forgetting that this is the same man who left millions of Zimbabweans in tears after he took away the right of our country to host the 2000 African Cup of Nations.
Ironically, he took the competition to his region of origin — West Africa — where Nigeria and Ghana co-hosted the event. When shall we learn? Why do we continue to sup with the devil?
In the final analysis, Zifa and the PSL must realise that their source of internal conflict was CAF and Zifa must address that with their mother body.
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