Zifa diverting attention

HARARE - On Thursday, the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) leadership made some sensational claims while appearing before the parliamentary portfolio committee on Sports, Arts and Culture.

Zifa president Cuthbert Dube and chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze all claimed that at the height of the Asiagate match-fixing scandal, three local journalists who were involved earned national team caps.

Issues surrounding the Asiagate match-fixing scandal have dragged on for the last four years without any real solution.

Although we do not condone match-fixing and corruption, Zifa are now using the matter as a smoke screen to distract Zimbabweans from noticing the real issues affecting local football.

And the real issues are that we have an incompetent leadership at Zifa which employed a fly-by-night coach and the result is that we were booted out of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

The Warriors have failed to qualify for the last five Afcon finals and the recent failure came just two months ago when the team was booted out of the 2015 finals at the hands of lowly Tanzania in the preliminary round stages.

The real issue is how did we lose to Tanzania? Who is to blame? Surely we cannot blame journalists for the monumental failure.

As Zifa’s flagship team, the Warriors’ failures will always come to the fore when discussing the state of the national game.

Instead of still clinging to the past, the association should be looking at ways of reviving the Warriors brand.

At the moment, personal fights between individuals at Zifa and within football stakeholders are taking centre stage while the football-loving community continues to suffer.

Zifa has completely abandoned the grassroots structures with the various junior national teams owing to a lack of funds and gross mismanagement.

The association says it is in the process of formulating a strategic plan that will see more emphasis given to the junior teams.

If the truth has to be told, for many years we have heard this monotonous rhetoric from Zifa.

It is our hope that the parliamentary portfolio committee on Sports, Arts and Culture holds Zifa accountable for the proclamations they made before the august House.

If Zifa do not follow through on their strategic plan, legislators should act.

Rather than continue with these egoistical personal fights, Zifa and all football stakeholders should be working towards ensuring that the Warriors are among the teams competing at Libya 2017 and Russia 2018.

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