Minister warns Zifa

HARARE - Sport minister Makhosini Hlongwane yesterday launched a thinly-veiled attack on the Philip Chiyangwa-led Zifa board saying it risks “killing” the local game if it continued on a “political” warpath with its perceived rivals. 
His ringing warning comes as the football-governing body has handed a spate of suspensions and thrown the Castle Premier Soccer League (PSL) relegation criteria into disarray, potentially leaving prospective sponsors on ice.

“Zifa is not a political organisation it’s a football administration authority and we want them to be cautious on how they arrive at these decisions,” Hlongwane said at a press conference yesterday.

“As the ministry responsible, we have decided that we must put our voice on this important matter of how decisions are being taken as far as the administration of football in the country is concerned.

“We are very concerned as government that certain decisions may kill the potential for investment in football forever if the authorities are not careful in terms of how they handle particular aspects of administration of football in the country.”

Zifa suspended PSL chairman Peter Dube at the start of the month for “inappropriate conduct” during the association’s congress.

This was after the Zifa councillors’ shock resolution to demote four teams instead of two, a position they had agreed to at the start of the year.

At their 2015 AGM, Zifa and PSL had agreed to demote two teams and promote two through play-offs from the country’s four regions — Northern, Southern, Eastern and Central.

Shabanie Mine, Bantu Rovers, Black Rhinos and Yadah Stars were crowned champions in their respective leagues but are yet to learn what the future holds for them as there is no solution yet.  

In the same respect, Highlanders chief executive Ndumiso Gumede was temporarily expelled from all football activities for “peddling falsehoods about the current football leadership in a letter he wrote to Fifa” earlier this year following the formation of Nafaz.

And last week, Zifa had also suspended CAPS United board chairperson Lewis Uriri before making a U-turn without giving further reasons.

These suspensions came hard on the heels of former Zifa board member Edzai Kasinauyo, Nation Dube, Ian Gorowa, Henrietta Rushwaya and Jonathan Musavengana’s expulsions after they were implicated in the Limpopogate.

But Hlongwane said such type of administration is not conducive for the growth of the game.  

“There has been a spate of suspensions by the football authority in the country.

“Suspensions of those that are smaller by those bigger. We feel that, though suspensions are not just too many, but in certain instances we have seen reversal of those suspensions,” said Hlongwane.

“This then informs us that arrival at those decisions in the first place was not informed by fact, reason, logic and it was not informed by rational thought. Therefore we think that football administration in the country should not operate on the basis of expediency.

Hlongwane added that: “They should be tolerant of the views that are different because they are important to nourish their decision-making processes.

“The reversal of those decisions barely one week after they have been taken clearly speaks to lack of comprehensiveness in terms of how they were arrived at in the first place. And that is the evidence for all to see and we do not understand even in that reversal certain individuals are removed from suspension without due process and others are left under suspension.

“That shows you this is not a properly functioning system of administration and for us as government it is of great concern that our football must put their house in order.” Hlongwane further revealed that his ministry with the help of the Sports and Recreational Commission (SRC) will engage Zifa so that they find common ground with everyone for the better of the sport.

“The SRC is engaging with the football authorities in trying to mediate the differences so that the situation doesn’t spiral out of control,” Hlongwane said.

“To say two games before the end of the season you change the template completely and you have one year of planning by clubs, stakeholders and sponsors does not inspire confidence in us in terms of decision-making processes.”

Hlongwane said it is up to Zifa to take their advice as the government does not want to directly interfere with the affairs of the association. “Obviously, we don’t want to micro-manage football in the country as government that’s not our job but our job is to proffer advice and to assist them to do things properly,” added Hlongwane.

“When you take decisions like that there is the potential of jugulating prospective investors that are sitting in the wings to come to sponsor them next season. And that’s the fear that we have that investors could be chased away.

“These kind of things must not happen and there must be predictability so that investors know what they are walking into, they associate with what they know which is clear and they can take important decisions in time.”

Comments (2)

Only one man is at the centre of all this fiasco at Zifa. Chiyangwa is the chief culprit.After spending years bankrupting private companies, he has now set his devouring sight at Zifa. Shame him.

Joseph Chirume - 1 December 2016

Thank you Honourable Min Of Sports - u are a real leader par excellence.Let the Nation PRAY for Zifa so that decisions will come from God and not individuals.

alan - 2 December 2016

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