Zimbabwe motor racing sensation Axcil Jefferies has had a brilliant season of racing in the Middle East and Europe this year.
A champion in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Middle East Championship and runner-up in the European version of the event, Jefferies is conspicuous by his absence on the final nominees list of the Annual National Sports Awards (Ansa).
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
The Zimbabwe Motorsport Federation (ZMSF) admittedly did not submit Jefferies’ name for nomination, but the Ansa adjudication committee claims they did consider the racing driver’s achievements and he did not make the final nominees list.
After Jefferies fell behind karatekas Samson Muripo and Brian Chiringa, as well as professional golfer Nyasha Mauchaza on the Sportsman of the Year nominees list, his father Suhail vented his frustration at the ZMSF last week.
Suhail accused ZMSF for deliberately ignoring his son’s achievements despite being recognised around the world as one of the country’s flag bearers in world motorsport.
The racing driver’s father also opened a can of worms by flashing the systematic racism card as accusations and counter-accusations overshadowed the Ansa awards set for Wednesday.
The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), has, however, dismissed claims of racism raised by Suhail.
“I feel that to allege racism is taking things too far in this case because it could be a simple case that someone just forgot and we do not want the whole issue to turn political. SRC can only investigate such allegations when there is ample evidence pertaining to racism claims,” SRC’s corporate communications officer Tirivashe Nheweyembwa told Standardsport.
The SRC, however, might have exposed their adjudication committee’s failings by claiming that Jefferies’ achievements which include seven race wins and 11 podium finishes in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Middle East and Europe Championships did not merit nomination for the Sportsman of the Year award.
“I can also confirm that we were also tracking Jefferies’ performances flying the nation’s flag high and as such, we forwarded his name according to the information we had and unfortunately he didn’t make it. This is why we encourage national associations to submit their nominees because it makes the whole process easier,” he said.
In their defence, the ZMSF may have worsened the situation by claiming that none of their athletes won on the international scene which is not true considering Jefferies’ results this year and motocross sensation Tanyaradzwa Muzinda for the Junior Sportswoman of the Year.
The local motorsport governing board also alleged that the Zimbabwe media did not publicise Jefferies’s achievements which is also not true.
In midst of the debacle, the Jefferies camp revealed they are seriously contemplating giving up racing under the ZMSF and race under the flag of another country.
The Ansa awards which are organised by the SRC to recognise and celebrate the highest accomplishments by athletes, coaches, and administrators take place at a local hotel on Wednesday.