Dube endorses Sibanda suspension Cuthbert Dube
Cuthbert Dube

Cuthbert Dube

Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube has sprinkled fuel to the fires ravaging domestic football’s disintegrating leadership by endorsing the controversial suspension of Board Member, Miriam Sibanda, as the forces, pushing for her ouster, slowly emerge from the shadows.

Dube’s endorsement of Sibanda’s suspension comes just days after ZIFA chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze, backed the move last week by advising the Sports Commission that the Women Football boss had been suspended and was now set to appear before the association’s Disciplinary Committee.

Sibanda’s suspension has been heavily criticised by Sport, Arts and Culture Deputy Minister, Thabitha Kanengoni-Malinga, who feels the country’s dysfunctional football leadership was wasting time on turf wars rather than resolving the crisis related to the expulsion of the Warriors from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers by FIFA.

By endorsing Sibanda’s controversial suspension, despite concerns over constitutional violations related to the holding of the Zimbabwe Women Council indaba where she was sanctioned, Dube might have set a precedent that might come back to haunt him, in two weeks time, when ZIFA Councillors hold a Special General Meeting of the ZIFA Assembly, to discuss the sorry state of the game.

More than half of the ZIFA Councillors, whose call for a Special General Meeting of the ZIFA Assembly were rejected by Mashingaidze, have now borrowed a leaf from the Zimbabwe Women Football Assembly, to go ahead with their indaba in Harare on May 16, with or without the blessing of the ZIFA chief executive.

The Councillors — who are now taking their petition to the Sports Commission — want the Special General Meeting of the ZIFA Assembly to discuss, among other things:

An age analysis of all ZIFA Creditors

The participation and funding of the National Teams

The Way Forward

Eleven of the 16 Premiership clubs are part of more than half the ZIFA Councillors who have raised alarm over the state of football in Zimbabwe in the biggest rebellion, against the association’s leaders, which represents a massive indictment on the national game’s leadership.

Twine Phiri, a member of the ZIFA Board, by virtue of his position as Premier Soccer league chairman, signed the petition while Premiership heavyweights — Highlanders, CAPS United and FC Platinum — and all the Southern Region top-flight clubs, have backed the petition.

ZIFA have, in turn, tried to weaken the rebellion and divide the Premiership leadership by dangling a carrot for the PSL vice-chairman, Peter Dube, who is the Highlanders boss, to be the leader of the Warriors’ delegation on their tour of duty at the COSAFA Cup tournament in South Africa next month.

On Monday, Dube, the ZIFA president, endorsed the suspension of Sibanda and, effectively, cleared the way for those ZIFA Councillors, who have been calling for a Special General Meeting of the ZIFA Assembly, to also go ahead and hold their indaba.

“The Zimbabwe Football Association is in receipt of your letter, dated 24th April 2015, pertaining to the above matter (Suspension of Zimbabwe Women Football Chairperson And The Board Members By Zimbabwe Women Football Assembly), from the Zimbabwe Women Council, on 20th April and the matter is now before the ZIFA Disciplinary Committee,” Dube wrote to Sibanda in a letter copied to all the Board Members.

“The Association awaits guidance from the ZIFA Disciplinary Committee on the way forward.”

Sibanda had written to Dube, on April 24, requesting for advice on her status in the wake of the move by some of the constituents that she led to suspend her,

“I have received a suspension letter, ostensibly from the Zimbabwe Women Football Aseembly. Kindly advise on the veracity of the document and the way forward,” Sibanda wrote in her letter to the ZIFA president.

Last week, Mashingaidze was the first high-ranking ZIFA official to endorse Sibanda’s suspension in a letter sent to Sports Commission director general, Charles Nhemachena.

Sibanda’s suspension has angered Sport, Arts and Culture Deputy Minister, Kanengoni, although there has been deafening silence from her boss, Sports Minister, Andrew Langa, despite reports last week that he had also been angered by the latest developments.

“The last time we talked to the ZIFA board we talked about the issue of getting the Warriors unbanned from FIFA and they were supposed to give a report back in two weeks,” Kanengoni-Malinga told our sister newspaper, H-Metro.

“But now we are reading about the suspensions. They are busy looking at who is on my side and who is not on my side.

“We told them that we do not want to hear that you are firing each other but hear how you will pay Valinhos but there has not been any report. We were not notified about the suspension, we read about it in the newspapers. They should stop attacking each other like that.

“They are bringing down Miriam Sibanda who has been working very hard in ensuring that women football in the country is developed.

“She has been going around looking for sponsorship, fund-raising and marketing women soccer. These are things that the nation should be focusing on. She has been working hard through and through. What we want is unity of purpose.

“Just because someone is doing well, now you want to bring them down. You want to remove them. Surely it doesn’t make any sense. Instead of bringing women football up, they are bringing it down. I am not happy with what is going on.

“It clearly shows that they don’t care about women football. They have forgotten the issue of getting us unbanned and now they are concentrating on who is on my side and who is not. I am not happy.”

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