Zifa councillors defiant

HARARE - The suspended 14 Zifa councillors are hopeful the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) will come to the rescue of the local game.

Zifa president Cuthbert Dube and his henchman CEO Jonathan Mashingaidze on Monday flexed their muscle by wielding the axe vice-president Omega Sibanda and board members finance Bernard Gwarada.

Four regional chairmen Willard Manyengavana (Northern Region), Musa Mandaza (Southern Region), Festus Kamambo (Central Region) and Piraishe Mabhena (Eastern Region) were suspended by the association.

Matebeleland North provincial chairman Dennis Mushonga and Sweeney Mushonga, the Northern Region treasurer, were also suspended.

Martin Kweza the Northern Region vice-chairperson, Southern Region board members Tumediso Ndlovu and Brighton Malandule together with Davison Muchena, board member for Eastern Regional were also suspended.

Central Region vice-chairperson Patrick Hill and Beach Football president Joseph Musaririr were also axed.

The 14 were charged with being the ring leaders of last month’s Assembly meeting that attempted to overthrow Dube.

During the same board meeting which axed these officials, Zifa also changed the date of this weekend’s AGM to next month of August.

The councillors had been calling for an urgent AGM in order deliberate on some of the burning issues like Zimbabwe’s expulsion from the 2018 Russia World Cup for failure to pay former coach Valinhos.

“Now Zifa is saying we are likely to hold the AGM between July or August. According to Fifa the draw for the first round of the African qualifiers is supposed to be held on July 25,” said one of the councillors.

“What guarantee are we going to have that by the time that the draw comes about, would Zifa have paid up the money owed to Valinhos?

“This is one of the reasons why we called for that meeting so that we can discuss Zimbabwe’s expulsion by Fifa.”

The councillor said all their hopes were now pinned on the SRC, who requested Zifa to furnish them with details of all the suspensions.

“They are violating what was prescribed by the SRC when they said we should work together and stop all expulsions,” said the councillor. 

“These suspensions will also be found wanting in terms of the Zifa constitution but being Cuthbert Dube he just goes and throws away the constitution out of the window to achieve his goals.

“We were voted in by the clubs in our respective regions and these are the people who gave us the mandate to hold the AMG because they have noticed our football is in great danger.

“What the Zifa board can only do is recommend to our regions that we must be suspended and if our regions endorse that recommendation then that’s it.”

In a statement on Tuesday, SRC director-general Charles Nhemachena said the commission will review Zifa's actions.

“The SRC notes with concern, the continued turmoil in the governance of football in the country,” said Nhemachena.

“The reported suspensions of some members by the Zifa Board yesterday, in addition to the earlier suspension of the women’s football representative on the Board are but a manifestation of the dysfunctional governance that now characterizes the administration of the beautiful game of football.

“The recent action to suspend some of the Zifa Council and Board members as afore-mentioned is in complete disregard of the advice that the Commission and indeed the Ministry has been giving to the Zifa Board; specifically on the need to work as a team and to desist from engaging in actions that would shift their focus from the primary goal of football development and developing the sport into an industry that is capable of contributing meaningfully to the ideals of youth empowerment, employment creation and growing the economy.”

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