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Chiyangwa laughs last

NO ONE can fault former Zifa president and now Cosafa boss Phillip Chiyangwa for boasting that Zimbabwean football made a huge mistake in rejecting him in favour of Felton Kamambo.

insidesport:with MICHAEL KARIATI

Events at Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) and in Zimbabwean football tell two different stories. One of Cosafa on the rise under Chiyangwa and the other of Zimbabwean football in turmoil under Kamambo.

While Cosafa are moving forward with intent, the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) has turned Zimbabwean football into a battleground with one fight after another without solution in sight to the circus while there is still no word on when competitive football is to return.

First it was Kamambo against Chiyangwa and Omega Sibanda. Then came Zifa versus Gift Banda and later the same Zifa against Chamu Chiwanza
.
Now Zifa are at it again and this time against the Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC) and its board chairman Gerald Mlotshwa. A few weeks before that — and for no reason — it was Zifa against Premier Soccer League chief executive Kennedy Ndebele.

As Zifa “enemies” continue to mount, the question is: Are all these people on the wrong side and only Zifa are right or that there is something wrong with Zifa itself?

As the clock ticks, one wonders: Who is next in line in this Zifa offensive against perceived enemies while at the same time the game in Zimbabwe continues to suffer a pedestal fall?

The Mighty Warriors were knocked out in the first round of the 2020 Cosafa Cup while their Under-20 counterparts were hammered left, right and centre at the same competition. The Under-17s returned from their Cosafa tournament in shame after their disqualification due to age cheating allegations.

As if that is not enough, the men’s Under-20 team is on its way back from South Africa after being eliminated in the first round having lost 2-0 to Mozambique.

Fine, the Young Warriors might have done themselves good by crushing Lesotho 4-1, but the fact remains that they were not good enough to progress further in the tournament.

All this paints a gloomy picture of the future of Zimbabwean football and the direction the game is taking.

More so, are question marks whether Zifa will be able to steer football’s return to the fields after the long Covid-19 break. First, we were told action would resume in November, then it was December, and now, we are being told, March 2021.

Events on the ground seem to suggest that those running the game do not seem to have a clue as to what exactly needs to be done for the game to return successfully.

In other African countries, including Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, Congo DR, Uganda and Rwanda, football has returned yet in Zimbabwe, there is still no hope of a return to competitive football.

What is ironic and interesting is that, in all this, Cosafa football seems to have taken a giant leap forward since Chiyangwa — whom Zimbabwean football rejected in those December 2018 elections — took over the reins.

At the moment, Cosafa is probably the most efficient of all the arms of the Confederation of African Football (Caf), a grouping of all African national football federations.

Even in this Covid-19 crisis, Cosafa has successfully staged all age group competitions including those for women from the
Under-17s up to the senior national teams with the support of loyal sponsors.

Plans are also at an advanced stage to introduce the Cosafa Cup of Club Champions which, according to Chiyangwa, would — every year — be staged just before the start of the Caf Champions League.

The truth is that in as much as we don’t like Chiyangwa, when one does well, then credit should be given where it is due and Captain
Fiasco deserves that credit.

What he is doing at Cosafa carries with it the Zimbabwean name and at least there is something positive coming out of Zimbabwean football in the eyes of the outside world.

As Zimbabwean football takes a plunge while that of Cosafa is rising, the question that comes to mind is: Did the Zifa Council make the right decision in throwing out Chiyangwa for Kamambo, or that, that decision was driven by emotions?

Or, is Zimbabwean football learning anything from what comes after the Zifa polls or that we seem to be repeating the same mistakes over and over again?

Whatever the case might be, events in Zimbabwe have given Chiyangwa the weapon to laugh and boast all the way that Zimbabwean football made a huge mistake in rejecting him. Who can blame him for feeling that way?

l For your comments, views and suggestions, email mkariati@gmail.com or WhatsApp on 0773 266 779.

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