Football has no place for cowards

HARARE - Zimbabwe's absence from the World Cup qualifying games determining who goes to participate in the Russia 2018 finals is a serious indictment on the country’s football governors — Zifa.

Since attaining independence in 1980, the Warriors had never failed to play in the World Cup qualifiers and despite failing to earn a ticket to the finals, millions of football lovers in this country still retained pride in the country.

But for the first time, Zifa, under the booted executive of Cuthbert Dube, ensured that Zimbabwe suffered the ignominy of being excluded from the World Cup qualifiers for failing to pay money owed to former Warriors coach Valinhos.

The painful exclusion was the final straw and led to the ouster of Dube and his comrades from the Zifa board, in a bid to save local football from total collapse under the stewardship of the incompetent board.

A process to choose a new board, including the man who replaces Dube as the Zifa president has started but not without problems.

As we report elsewhere in this paper, some of the prospective candidates for Zifa’s new executive, have received threatening messages to withdraw from the December 5, elections.

This is an act of cowardice and is unacceptable in a modern world where the spirit of fair play demands that everyone deserves their chance.

We expect the minister of Sport and Recreation — Makhosini Hlongwane — to institute a probe into the serious allegations which were raised by the prospective candidates who have been targeted by these cowards.

This is a bad sign for local football, where thugs are allowed to come in and try to determine who should run our football, yet there are transparent processes that are in place to select successful candidates.

These threats are meant to instil fear in both the councillors and deserving candidates.

In today’s football world, there is no need for employing such primitive methods to try and defeat the ends of electoral justice.

Zimbabwe’s football is in need of a face-lift after six wasted years in which corruption, maladministration and incompetence stymied its envisaged growth.

Therefore, threats, underhand tactics and intimidation must be condemned in the strongest terms.

Hlongwane has a role to play and must investigate these threats because football believes in its minister and the minister must repay that faith.

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