The circus unfolding at the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) has escalated to levels that have provoked the ire of the Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC), a body that governs sports in the country.
By our Staff
The SRC has vowed to stop the rot and restore order for the good of the game.
Last month Zifa councillors convened an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) in Harare where they agreed to fire Zifa boss Cuthbert Dube together with two board members, Fungai Chihuri and Tavengwa Hara.
Ironically, the same Zifa councillors who called the EGM are the ones who had unanimously ushered Dube into office.
Fifa, however, overturned the move, saying it violated the Zifa constitution. The councillors were given June 16 as the only time they could hold such a meeting.
This did not come as a surprise to many football lovers in Zimbabwe as it was clear that Fifa president Sepp Blatter had to save Dube ahead of the Fifa elections that were to be held the following week.
Last week the Zifa boss suspended vice-president Omega Sibanda, board member in charge of finance Benard Gwarada and all four region chairpersons, taking the number of those suspended by Zifa to eight.
However, the SRC has been watching and previous efforts to intervene have been falling on deaf ears.
Speaking to Standardsport yesterday, SRC boss Charles Nhemachena could not be drawn to disclose the commission’s position, but hinted that something should be in place by Tuesday.
He said SRC was trying to save embarrassing scenes that have become the order of the day in Zimbabwean football.
“We have since received the report that we have been waiting for from Zifa. As I speak, we are dealing with this issue. We expected to see much from this report, but I can tell you nothing much is there, only accusations,” Nhemachena said.
After receiving the much-awaited report on Thursday, the SRC boss took it to the board, which will then make recommendations of what should be done to save the game.
“At SRC, we don’t work like people at Zifa who leave all the work to the CEO. We work together with the board which then makes recommendations. I have a feeling a committee will be put in place to investigate what has been happening, but I am sure sanity will prevail this time around.”
Nhemachena added that the problems at Zifa were a result of a leadership vacuum.
“The problem is we do not have strategic leaders. Our leaders listen to fans to an extent that they fail to fund some of the activities that they would have taken up.”
Nhemachena said leadership at Zifa has for the past years made them believe that every country is forced to take part in all international tournaments, which Fifa recently dispelled.
“For the past years we have been made to believe that every country should take part in all international tournaments. It’s only this year when SRC invited Fifa personnel to come here that they told us that all countries are not forced to partake in all international tournaments. A nation can take part in at least two tournaments in a period of two years.”
He added; “They actually asked us why we were forcing ourselves into all tournaments with this current economic situation. They even asked me why we were having sleepless nights over the World Cup ban when we don’t even have the money to take part in the qualifiers.”
Nhemachena said SRC has been taking time to put hands on the matter to avoid bans from Fifa.
“It’s us who invited Fifa recently as SRC. We did this to create a relationship with them so that when we take action, we will be in constant contact with them so that we don’t invite a ban as a nation.”
Commenting on the current situation whereby Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries leader Walter Magaya has been left to fund the national teams, Nhemachena said; “It’s a sign of desperation. We have a number of sporting associations in this country, but why football only? Like I said, we don’t have strategic leaders in this association,” Nhemachena said.