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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

FIFA delegation engages the government of Zimbabwe

Story by Lawrence Trusida

THE Federation of International Football Association (FIFA)’s delegation is in Zimbabwe to find a lasting solution to problems which saw the country being suspended from participating in international football.

FIFA sent a three-member delegation which has since held meetings with the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) as well as the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Honourable Kirsty Coventry.

The delegation comprises FIFA’s head of development programmes in Africa, Solomon Mudege, Gelson Fernandes who is the FIFA Director – Member Associations Africa and COSAFA President Artur de Almeida de Silva.

Fernandes and de Silva have since flown out of the country while Mudege is still in Zimbabwe with an official statement expected anytime from now.

Zimbabwe has been suspended from international football since February last year, owing to third-party interference in football matters after the SRC suspended the Felton Kamambo-led ZIFA board.

The ZIFA board was suspended over a litany of charges and since then, FIFA has been calling on the sports regulator to reinstate the Kamambo-led executive committee as a precondition for Zimbabwe to rejoin the international football community.

The SRC has, however, stuck to its guns which has led to a stalemate and Zimbabwe’s continued isolation.

Another FIFA delegation was in Zimbabwe in April to engage the SRC, the suspended ZIFA board members, the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe, the Premier Soccer League and some members of the media.

This time around, the delegation only met the SRC and the government for a series of marathon meetings.

Last week, Minister Coventry announced that the government has been heavily involved in engagements with FIFA and she gave a three-week timeline for Zimbabwe’s suspension to be lifted.

Zimbabwe has already missed out on AFCON qualification, with clubs also failing to participate in continental competitions and if the ban is not lifted, the Warriors will not be in the draw for the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers set for next week.

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