By Ian Zvoma
ZIMBABWE football has been thrown into further chaos after the suspended ZIFA board announced the suspension of 27 councillors including the Premier Soccer League Chief Executive Officer and the leaders of the country’s big three.
What apparently started as an act of good faith by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) has turned into a huge inferno that might be difficult to extinguish.
The battle to control Zimbabwean football is fast turning into a nightmare which even great African authors like Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong’o or our very own Chenjerai Hove and Charles Mungoshi would not have scripted.
It all started with the suspension of the Felton Kamambo led ZIFA board by the Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC) on various charges including failing to account for government funds used at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
While questions were raised over the timing of the suspension, which came just before the Africa Cup of Nations and the possibility of FIFA retribution, the SRC stuck to its guns.
Even when FIFA issued an ultimatum for the reinstatement of the ZIFA board, the SRC did not budge and to their credit, they oversaw an organised Africa Cup of Nations tournament for the Warriors, which was a break from the past where chaos was the order of the day in the Warriors Camp.
However, the more things change the more they remain the same.
Just when the FIFA ultimatum elapsed, a group of 27 ZIFA councillors announced an Extraordinary Congress where among other things they were expected to revoke the mandate of the suspended board.
All seemed to be going according to plan until FIFA intervened and blocked the Congress saying the Councilors did not follow due process, labelling the intended meeting a violation of ZIFA statutes.
FIFA referred the councillors to ZIFA statutes which state that “The Executive Committee shall convene an extraordinary Congress if one-third of the members of ZIFA make such a request in writing. The request shall specify the items for the agenda. An Extraordinary Congress shall be held within three months of receipt of the request…”
While that seemed fair and in accordance with general expectations among the sober minds, the suspended ZIFA board threw a bombshell this Monday, suspending 27 councillors including the Premier soccer league chief executive officer Kenny Ndebele and the leaders of the country’s traditional big three clubs, Highlanders, Dynamos and CAPS United.
The ZIFA competitions and communications manager, Xolisani Gwesela who was acting as the head of the secretariat and national teams general manager Wellington Mpandare were also suspended.
While the biggest question is where Kamambo and his colleagues are getting their mandate from when their suspension has not been lifted, local football is bleeding and crying out for sober heads and people who have football at heart.
What has become obvious is that the fans who invest their emotions, the players who earn a living from the game and the young talent who is yearning for guidance are the biggest losers.
What happens tomorrow remains anyone’s guess.