Cry, beloved Zim football

JOHANNESBURG - The constant administrative shortcomings of the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) are not only harming the game but doing the country’s already battered image no good outside its borders.

It is high time every Zimbabwean takes stock of the country’s reputation and this includes the media, football fans, those running the game and most importantly, the government.

Did I hear someone say why government when Fifa is unambiguous about government involvement in the game?

On the African continent, much as this is the world governing football body’s fundamental philosophy, no football association, maybe save for Safa, Nigeria and those in the north of the continent, can survive without massive cash injections from their governments.

That is the harsh reality on the continent.

News that the Young Warriors squad, who play their Mzansi counterparts this evening at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg, boycotted training on Thursday in protest of not having lunch was probably the biggest low in the latest spate of embarrassments within our football.

The development comes hardly a week after the women’s national team failed to meet its obligations of travelling to Ivory Coast and Zifa were fined $10 400 by Fifa.

The Ivory Coast gaffe, which I still insist is not of poor Cuthbert Dube’s making, comes in the wake of the country’s national team travelling to Malawi by bus of all the transport system after the intervention of a Good Samaritan.

The government had to bail out Zifa at the last minute for the Warriors’ trip to Comoros in the Chan tournament; and these are only some of the few such embarrassing incidents that have blotted our game lately.

I know, those quick to lay the blame will point fingers at poor Dube. He is of course the lame duck under these circumstances.

But hold on people, how many times have we heard of local authorities, GMB, NRZ and Zinwa workers going for months without their salaries and how service delivery to the ordinary people has become non-existent in the country?

Even poor ZBC employees faced a good year not knowing where their next salary would come from.

So what can poor Dube do under these circumstances? I know his biggest sin was being caught in the salary scandal web in which he was accused of earning millions when the very institution that was paying him was literally collapsing.

The country has never forgiven him for this yet corruption has become a rampant in Zim. We all know that.

It is only that football is the most popular sport on the continent and when things are not going well, people normally find solace within the sport they love.

So, to be honest, the story of the players having gone to training without taking their lunch utterly disenchanted me.

Have we become a failed state? And what is government doing about it?

I have never heard any minister or top civil servant failing to attend an international conference. So why not giving the same planes that fly top civil servants across the globe to the national team to fulfil its assignment? Is that asking too much?

And to the members of the media, without trying to patronise you; where is patriotism for you to find joy in reporting such incidents to the outside world?

I am still speechless.

What has become of Zimbabwe?

Cry, the beloved country!

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