'Keep politics out of sport'

HARARE - Former Sports minister David Coltart says the ongoing Zifa saga is an extension of the country’s national and intra-party politics.

World football governing body Fifa at the weekend was forced to issue a statement warning that Zifa would be banned from international football if the government goes ahead with its threat to fire Zifa president Cuthbert Dube and his entire board.

The threats have been made by Deputy Sports minister Tabeth Kanengoni-Malinga, who announced in Parliament last Wednesday that government was on the verge of sacking Dube’s executive and was prepared to face the full wrath of Fifa statutes.

“It does seem to me that Zifa may be caught up in the ructions taking place within Zanu PF. Politics should always be kept out of sport as far as possible,” Coltart said yesterday.

Last December, the Daily News reported that escalating in-fighting within Zanu PF had spilt into football with a group pushing for Dube’s ouster having resorted to linking the beleaguered football boss to embattled vice president Joice Mujuru, who was later fired alongside several allies after the ruling party’s congress that month.

We reported at the time that factionalism within the ruling party, which now affects nearly every facet of Zimbabwean life, had now reached the country’s most popular national sport.

The Lifelong Footballers Trust of Zimbabwe — a newly-formed outfit bringing together different stakeholders of the game in the country, was reportedly leveraging on the politics of the country to oust Dube and his entire administration by aligning itself with a faction the Zifa supremo is said to be opposed to.

The faction had been clamouring for Mujuru’s removal from her VP post, and several individuals linked to her, including Dube, have either been expelled from their posts or are walking a tightrope.

Meanwhile, another highly-placed local sports administrator said a Fifa ban must be avoided at all costs, even if that means offering Dube a soft-landing, exit strategy.

“We have to find a solution that doesn’t compromise the future of the game in this country,” he said.

“We will be irresponsible as sports leaders and government to have caused Zimbabwe to be suspended by Fifa.

“We would have particularly failed as sports stakeholders and not government if that happens and we cannot allow that to happen.”


Comments (1)

i agree that we should leave sport out of politics ZIFA is not an organisation but a mafia. FIFA should send a fact finding delegation to troubled football association and if they do in Zimbabwe they will agree these thugs have messed soccer under the protection of FIFA.

maita - 4 February 2015

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