SRC dithers on VP dinner snub findings

HARARE - The inquest into Zimbabwe national football team’s African Cup of Nations dinner debacle which occurred in January, will remain a closely guarded secret, it has emerged.

Seven months after the side snubbed a send-off dinner with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa on the eve of the team’s departure for the Afcon finals in Gabon on January 6 —  there was hope that the matter will finally be put to bed.

But subsequent press conferences scheduled to make the findings public have yielded no result, except to further antagonise a few players who have been victimised by Zifa for allegedly being the ring leaders.

The investigations were led by a commission of inquiry set up by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) soon after the incident.

It, however, remains unclear when and if the findings will ever be made public with the SRC stating yesterday that media will be advised “in due course”.  

“The press conference has been deferred to a later date to be advised,” SRC spokesperson Tiriwashe Nheweyembwa said yesterday.

The sport governing body had last week communicated that the findings of the investigation will be out last week Friday.
“Following the commission of inquiry into the boycott of the send-off function and other related challenges to Zimbabwe’s participation in Afcon by SRC, you are invited to attend a press conference on July 14, at the SRC offices,” read a press statement from the SRC.

“The press conference is being held so that the findings of the commission of inquiry are shared with you.”

The media heeded the SRC’s call for a press briefing on Friday only to endure an hour-long wait as SRC officials were locked up in a meeting with Zifa vice president Omega Sibanda, with the parties involved emerging from the meeting to defer the press conference.

The series of postponements come as Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa has already passed his judgment on who was responsible for the team’s boycott.

In his judgment, it appears Matthew Rusike, Cuthbert Malajila, Willard Katsande and Nyasha Mushekwi will never play for the Warriors as long as he is president.

Football fans were yesterday not amused by the continued delay to bring closure to the player industrial action.

“The report’s recommendations have been overtaken by events since Zifa have sacrificed some players, including the captain as cover up,” said an avid football follower Taurai Mandizha.

“The players have been ‘disciplined’ without affording them the constitutional right to appeal if ever there was due process.”

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