By Lawrence Trusida, Sports Editor
The Sports and Recreation Commission has suspended the Zimbabwe Football Association board with immediate effect citing gross incompetence.
This comes just 53 days before the rescheduled 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) gets underway and local football has been thrown into an uncertain future after the country’s supreme sport governing body, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) invoked section 30 of the SRC Act.
In announcing the decision to suspend the ZIFA Board led by Felton Kamambo, the SRC cited a number of issues chief among them, mismanagement and lack of accountability in the use of public funds.
ZIFA also stands accused of failing to deal with allegations of sexual harassment of female referees by key technical staff within the local football governing body, gender imbalances relating to the treatment of female national teams compared to their male counterparts and constitutional violations, among other issues.
“We have been in contact with ZIFA. This is not a kneejerk reaction; we have sent correspondence to them since 2019 and they don’t bother responding. When they do it’s usually a lawyer writing to us some sweet language. 2019 AFCON there are issues of non-payment of players, misuse of funds – all this we asked them to account for it, but they don’t bother. But today they come and say can you help us fundraise for AFCON. Up to now the players haven’t been paid, coaches as well, only Knowledge Musona responded to us via a detailed email on the goings on in Egypt,” SRC Chairperson, Gerald Mlotshwa said.
However, past experience has taught us that the International football governing body, FIFA, does not take kindly to this kind of interference in violation of FIFA statutes.
“We are well aware of that, we been in communication like we said. This had been a process that started in 2019 and we also communicated with FIFA itself. What they decide to do now we don’t care, what we care about is the development of sport in this country and associations should provide a fair chance to everyone. If we are banned so be it, but this was a necessary evil. It needed to be done. Acting now is better than not acting.”
An interim committee to run football affairs in the country is expected to be named within the next 48 hours.
Under such circumstances it is FIFA’s prerogative to establish normalisation committees having done so in Cameroon, Egypt and Ghana in recent years.
Chad was suspended earlier this year with FIFA citing government interference, after authorities opted to establish their own National Committee to manage the federation’s affairs.
It therefore remains to be seen how this situation will pan out.