Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
ZIFA insist they will attend the COSAFA annual meeting in South Africa on Saturday and the decision to bar them from the indaba is null and void.
Joseph Mamutse, the ZIFA chief executive, this week sent a detailed response to the regional body questioning the timing of the move.
Mamutse said they failed to pay their dues to COSAFA because of the country’s monetary policies.
“The decision of the executive committee was arrived at without the benefit of any input from us, as the member association,’’ Mamutse wrote.
“It is trite that any decision that affect the status of a member association be done without consideration from submission from the affected party.
“If this had been done, we are of the firm view that the executive committee would not have arrived at such a decision.
“The decision is alleged to have been done by the emergency committee of COSAFA. A reading of the COSAFA statutes will reveal that such a committee is non-existent.
“Article 10 and Article 11 provide for the establishment of the executive committee and the duties and powers of the executive committee.
“There is no provision creating the emergency committee of COSAFA. As such the alleged decision was made by non-existent committee of COSAFA.
“It is a nullity and will, accordingly, be ignored with the contempt it deserves.’’
ZIFA were banned from the annual meeting in terms of Article 27.6 of the organisation’s statutes.
It states that an association which fails to pay its dues, “may not attend any meeting, or activity, of COSAFA.’’
But Mamutse said COSAFA ambushed them as ZIFA were making efforts to settle their dues under an agreed plan.
“You will recall that we have made it clear that ZIFA has not failed to pay its subscription fees to COSAFA,’’ he wrote.
“The non-payment of the annual subscription was due to the monetary policies of the association country.
“Our local laws are clear that we cannot make any foreign currency payment outside the country without the authorisation of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
“We applied for the authorisation to make the payment, which application was declined by the Reserve Bank. As such, the non-payment was due to the circumstances beyond our control.
“Be that as it may, we have made alternative arrangements with FIFA to ensure that the payment is effected.’’
Relations between ZIFA and COSAFA have deteriorated in recent months and last week the local mother body questioned the regional body’s executive to give themselves allowances amounting to R1.5 million.
Last year, ZIFA launched an attempt to recall COSAFA president Philip Chiyangwa from his post after their spectacular fallout on the domestic front.
For the past month, ZIFA bosses and Chiyangwa have been locked in a fierce boardroom battle, which has also spilled into the courts of law, with both parties throwing missiles at each other.
The ZIFA leaders claim Chiyangwa allegedly misused the association’s funds, when he was leader of the association, before he was toppled from his post by Felton Kamambo in December 2017.
The Harare businessman denies the charges, including claims he diverted balls donated by La Liga, which were meant for grassroots football development, for his own use.
In recent days, allegations have also emerged, claiming Kamambo was being investigated for allegedly bribing councillors to vote for him, ahead of the watershed elections in December 2018, which he won.
The Harare business executive denies the charges.
The ugly squabbles are not only getting to the COSAFA corridors now but they have virtually destroyed any chances of the domestic game being developed.
ZIFA pointed to their clashes against Chiyangwa as the reason of COSAFA’s radical action.
“We further draw your attention to Articles 25.5, 25.6 and 25.7 of the COSAFA statutes.
The decision of the executive committee is subject to ratification by the General Assembly.
“We are of the firm view that the letter of 20th instant was motivated by a desire to bar us from attending the general assembly simply on the basis that we have our own issues with the incumbent president,” said Mamutse.
While the annual general meeting fiasco has attracted headlines, the absence of the Young Warriors at the last COSAFA Under-20 tournament in Zambia, a key development platform, passed without any mention at all.