BY SPORTS REPORTER
FORMER Zifa vice-president Omega Sibanda has dismissed allegations by the Zifa leadership that he was among the former executive committee members that allegedly destabilised the Warriors camp during their disastrous Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) campaign in Egypt.
Sibanda, through his lawyers Kwenda and Chagwiza Attorneys at Law, wrote to Zifa denying the allegations and demanding an apology.
“We write to advise that our client is deeply aggrieved by the publication of highly defamatory and injurious statements of him by the Zimbabwe Football Association and its emergency committee members comprised of Felton Kamambo, Philemon Machana and Brighton Malandule,” Sibanda’s lawyers said.
“The statements attributed to Zifa in the said publications allege, in the main that our client engaged in nefarious acts of match-fixing and manipulation for results of the Zimbabwe senior men’s national soccer team at the just-ended Afcon 2019 finals held in Egypt.”
In a press statement last month, the football mother body said it had sufficient evidence exposing Sibanda’s alleged role in the chaos surrounding the Warriors camp in Egypt as players and the association clashed over appearance fees and winning bonuses.
“Zifa in the said slanderous statements claims to have in its possession incriminating, overwhelming and solid evidence of match-fixing by our client in the form of WhatsApp messages,” Sibanda’s lawyers said.
“Zifa further repeated a publication of injurious allegations of match-fixing against our client in its letter of suspension addressed to Chamunorwa Chiwanza dated July 10, 2019, contents of which were published in the mainstream local media.”
Sibanda’s lawyers said Zifa’s statements were motivated by malice and ill-will and were demanding an apology from the local football governing body.
“When the above slanderous publications were made, Zifa knew them to be false and to be without any substance. One cannot make any other conclusion other than the publications were motivated by malice and ill-will,” said the lawyers.
“Our instructions are to demand, as we hereby do, that you retract the defamatory statements against our client by publication of an unconditional and unreserved withdrawal of all implications together with an expression of regret.”
Meanwhile, Zifa has accused Cosafa president Philip Chiyangwa of pushing for the ban against his home country from the regional bloc “for a crime he individually committed” through making the “unauthorised bid” to host this year’s Cosafa Cup tournament.
Cosafa last week announced that Zimbabwe could be banned from participating in the 2020 edition of the tournament and face further isolation until they pay a US$200 000 fine for reneging on their promise to host the Cosafa tournament this year.
Zifa, who are reportedly considering pulling out of the regional bloc, said in a statement yesterday that they would continue to push their motion to revoke Chiyangwa’s Cosafa presidency.