BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
THE Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) has ridiculed the suspended Zifa board’s press statement, which warned against the appointment of coach Norman Mapeza and the elevation of Xolisani Gwesela to acting Zifa chief executive officer.
Gwesela announced the appointment of Mapeza in the absence of the board, which was suspended last month and secretary general Joseph Mamutse who suffered the same fate last year. The SRC has reportedly appointed Gwesela to oversee the day to day running of Zifa business in the role of acting CEO.
The SRC suspended the board, which is led by Felton Kamambo for alleged mismanagement and lack of accountability in the use of public funds, among a cocktail of other transgressions.
Coming less than two months before the kick-off of the Afcon finals to be held in Cameroon, the development appears to have cast a shadow of uncertainty and confusion in the Warriors preparations for a third consecutive continental football extravaganza.
A few days after releasing a statement advising the nation that they would now take the back seat until guidance from Fifa is received, the Zifa board could not ignore the reported appointment of Mapeza which sets in motion preparations for Afcon finals.
They released strongly worded statements warning against the appointments of Mapeza and Gwesela as acting chief executive. SRC board chairman Gerald Mlotshwa refused to entertain the statements on Friday.
“It’s not worth commenting on that drivel. How does a suspended and divided board pass a resolution?” Mlotshwa quipped.
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The suspended board’s argument is that it is only the Zifa board that appoints national team coaches and the secretary general for the association, thus the appointment of Mapeza and Gwesela is illegal.
“The board has learnt through various media articles that certain decisions that are a preserve of the Zifa board are being taken on behalf of Zifa.
“The Zifa board would want to inform all stakeholders that any such decisions, contracts or agreements reached under the auspices of Zifa are null and void ab initio and therefore of no legal effect.
“The Zifa board advises stakeholders that anyone who goes into contractual relationship with Zifa in the absence or without express authority of the legitimate Zifa board if doing so at their own risk and that Zifa will not honour any obligations arising out of such agreements even is such are on Zifa letter heads or purportedly signed by any member of the Zifa secretariat but without express Zifa board authority.
“Of particular note is the fact that the Zifa board has not appointed any national team coach neither have it appointed any acting general secretary. As mentioned in our previous releases, Mr Mamutse remains the bonafide and substantive CEO of Zifa, but like the Zifa board, has also been physically precluded from carrying out his lawful duties by the SRC even after an appeal was lodged,” reads part of the statement by the suspended Zifa board.
Based on the previous statement released on December 8, the suspended Zifa board is adamant that the action taken by the SRC is equal to government interference and invites the full wrath of Fifa.
The challenge for the Kamambo led board is that a number of the board members namely Farai Jere, Sugar Chagonda and Barbara Chikosi have decided not to appeal against the suspension.
However, they remain confident that the intervention by Fifa would force the SRC’s hand to reinstate them.
But interestingly Fifa, who have met with the SRC are taking their time to act on the matter fuelling speculation that they may endorse the suspension of the Zifa board or at least allow Zimbabwe to participate at the Afcon finals.
A Fifa ban would effectively mean the Warriors will not take part in Cameroon.