HomeSportBall in Zifa councillors’ court

Ball in Zifa councillors’ court

The guessing game on who will be the next president of the Zimbabwe Football Association will come to an end next Saturday and many just cannot wait to see the elections pass.

Michael Kariati

With what they have been subjected to in the past two months, football followers are fed up with what has been going on and want the elections to come and go as quickly as possible.

It was increasingly becoming boring to read or hear this and that about Phillip Chiyangwa, Trevor Carelse-Juul, Leslie Gwindi or James Takavada.

The candidates also made the situation worse by exchanging harsh words instead of focusing their energies on selling their programmes to the electorate — the Zifa council — and to fans who are the major stakeholders of the game.

Focus is now on the Zifa council as, once again, there have been widespread allegations that councillors have been selling their votes. We have seen some of the councillors in public with contestants.

Word started spreading soon after Cuthbert Dube was shown the exit, that some Zifa councillors were knocking on the doors of potential Zifa presidential candidates pledging their votes in exchange for financial favours.
What is disturbing is the fact that the same Zifa councillors whose names have been associated with vote-buying in the past are the same guys who have once again cropped up.

These unscrupulous councillors should, however, be warned that the soccer-loving public has been following the events as they have been unfolding and know exactly what they want to come out of the elections.
The fans have their own expectations and anything to the contrary will not be taken lightly and would instigate a public outcry.

There are many who agree with Hope Chizuzu, that unless the current Zifa council — which is widely believed to be very corrupt — is removed from office, no credible elections will come out of Zimbabwe.

Some time back in 2003, this same Zifa council passed a vote-of-no-confidence on Leo Mugabe. On September 5, they did the same to Dube.

The results of next Saturday’s elections will be a test case on whether they too do not deserve a vote-of-no-confidence.

They have been warned.

Cleanest footballer of the year
Tomorrow, selectors of the Castle soccer star of the year will meet to choose outstanding footballers of the year.
However, the disqualification of Chicken Inn hardman, Danny “Deco” Phiri has once again raised questions as to whether Zimbabwe is selecting the real soccer stars of the year, or the cleanest footballers of the season.
Phiri has not only been an exemplary leader at champions Chicken Inn, but he has been an inspiration to his team-mates at club level and in the national team.

Sadly, Deco will not receive recognition as he has fallen victim to the archaic rule that states that players who receive six yellow cards or two red cards do not qualify to receive the soccer star of the year honours.

This rule has been in existence since 1993 and 22 years on, it still applies. The same rule was applied to the likes of Nesbert Saruchera, who is now a coach and finds the same rule being applied to his players.

In this age of modern day football, why should Zimbabwe continue to have a football rule that gives an advantage to the strikers while discriminating against the defenders and midfielders?

The most binding rule is that one has to have featured in 15 or more games during the course of the season to qualify for selection. Did the yellow and red cards prevent Deco from featuring in those 15 games? No.
It’s funny that in Zimbabwe, players —particularly defenders — are not allowed to go into tackles or else they won’t feature among the soccer stars of the year.

This yellow and red card rule should have been removed from the soccer statutes long back, but due to the flawed selection process, and the we-know-it-all attitude, this has not been possible.

Unlike in the past, the panel of selectors since 2010 only meet on the day of selection, and no other gathering is organised prior to the selection day.

In the past, the selectors would meet two weeks or so before selection day. This was for the purpose of deliberating on the selection criteria, as well as other issues with regards to the selection process in order to avoid problems on the day of selection.

In 1992, somebody came up and honoured the real soccer star of the year — Vitalis Takawira — after he had been disqualified along the same lines. I foresee this happening again.

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