I won't sack Zifa: Langa

HARARE - Sports minister Andrew Langa (pictured) says government will not dissolve the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) after the Warriors’ expulsion by Fifa from the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.

Zimbabwe was expelled from the qualifiers which are due to start in October after Zifa failed to pay former Warriors coach Valinhos his outstanding severance package.

Langa, who has long been criticised for turning a blind eye on Zifa’s maladministration, said his hands are tied in this matter and passed the buck to the Zifa Assembly.

“My ministry would like to reiterate its position that removal of persons from office must, as a general rule, be done in terms of the statutes that govern those institutions,” Langa said yesterday.

“My ministry would like to challenge the Zifa Assembly to reflect on the perennial flaws that characterise their administration of football in the country, as well as on the mood of the nation with regard to the direction they are taking football and take bold and urgent steps to correct the issues.

“While all criticism has mainly been targeted at the Zifa Board, my ministry notes that control of the board vests in the Zifa Assembly.  The latter, therefore, are equally if not more culpable for the goings-on in Zifa.

“The Zifa Assembly are the ones who voted the Zifa Board into office and it is them who can exercise the prerogative to withdraw their mandate, or to take any other concrete action that demonstrates their resolve to ensure that there is professionalism in the administration of our football.”

The Zanu PF MP for Insiza North tried to downplay the impact of the Fifa ban from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

“Specific to the latest decision by Fifa, my ministry notes that, if the suspension is going to hold, it would be a suspension from participating in a particular tournament rather than a blanket suspension from all football activities,” said Langa.

“It means that the Warriors can still participate in other tournaments such as the Afcon, Chan and Cosafa while all our junior and women’s teams would still be eligible to participate in, among others, all Fifa, Caf and Cosafa tournaments. Also, Fifa’s decision does not affect our capacity to effect (sic) player transfers for players who might get opportunities to ply their trade outside Zimbabwe.”

Langa said they would engage Zifa to discuss this latest development.  

“At the same time, my ministry would like to state in no uncertain terms, that it appreciates the anxiety caused by this latest gaffe.  However, we believe that any intervention should not be done on impulse, but after taking stock of the costs and benefits of engaging in such intervention. On its part, my Ministry has extended an invitation to Fifa to visit Zimbabwe with a view to ensuring that our mutual interests are protected. 

“We are aware that Fifa has nothing to benefit from a situation where the game is brought into disrepute, or where there is stunted growth or even retrogression in the development of the sport.  It is our hope, therefore, that Fifa will come forward to work with us on long-term solutions to the Challenges we are facing.”

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