Finally, ZIFA can see some light . . . For the first time, FIFA acknowledge receipt of correspondence

29 Jun, 2022 - 00:06 0 Views
Finally, ZIFA can see some light . . . For the first time, FIFA acknowledge receipt of correspondence A RAY OF HOPE . . . Acting ZIFA president Gift Banda is optimistic that Zimbabwe will not remain locked out of international football forever

The Herald

Grace Chingoma

Senior Sports Reporter

FINALLY, the ZIFA board can see some light in their battle for recognition and dragging Zimbabwe back into international football. 

For the first time, since the Felton Kamambo-led leadership was elbowed out by the ZIFA Congress, and replaced by a committee led by Gift Banda, there has been some positive movement. 

FIFA have acknowledged receipt of communication from the leadership, which also has a number of board members, who were part of the Kamambo leadership. 

Only Kamambo, Phil Machana and Bryton Malandule had their mandates revoked by the Councillors. 

Sugar Chagonda, Farai Jere, Barbra Chikosi and Banda were given the benefit of doubt while they have also co-opted others to help them run domestic football.

The co-opted members include ZIFA Northern Region chairman, Martin Kweza, who was the heart and soul of the mission to replace Kamambo and his crew. 

Banda is now optimistic FIFA will soon outline their position on Zimbabwe in a move which will provide the roadmap to be followed to resolve the issues which have been besetting the national game. 

The Bulawayo businessman’s optimism stems from the decision by the world football governing body to acknowledge receipt of communication from the association. 

FIFA will now look into the correspondence, which was sent by the ZIFA board, and then come up with a determination.

It has emerged that FIFA’s Senior Governance Services Manager Sarah Solemale is now seized with the documentation, in which ZIFA made the bold move to re-engage the world football controlling body, with a view to having Zimbabwe’s suspension from the international community lifted. 

There have been a number of developments on the local front since FIFA, citing third party interference by the Government, suspended Zimbabwe from international football. 

Banda, who has wasted no time in undertaking a diplomatic offensive that saw him meet the COSAFA leadership in Johannesburg on Monday, is optimistic that Zimbabwe will not remain locked out of the international game for long. 

FIFA are expected to issue their position early next month. 

The Zurich-based body acknowledged all the communication that they have received from ZIFA, including the lifting of the suspension of some board members.

Yesterday, Banda, who has been accompanied to South Africa by acting ZIFA chief executive, Xolisani Gwesela, as part of the re-engagement process with regional counterparts COSAFA, revealed that he was happy with the way things were moving. 

He said it was the first time FIFA have responded to the association, since the changes made within the board, and this was a giant step forward. 

“We have been in contact with FIFA who have promised to come back to us in July.

“We are waiting for that. 

“It is the first time that FIFA have responded to us, and it is early days and we take each day as it comes but I believe this is positive for us,” said Banda. 

The veteran administrator has held a series of meetings in Johannesburg. 

He has since met COSAFA president Artur de Almeida e Silva and the organisation’s chief executive Sue Destombes.

“We had a very fruitful discussion appraising him of our football developments,” he said. 

“As the regional leadership, we felt they should be our first port of call. 

“From here, we will then make a call to CAF and FIFA. “What I want to make clear is that FIFA want to see Zimbabwean football succeeding because our success is also FIFA’s success. 

“FIFA’s mandate is to develop football in the world and ensure that the game is kept alive and they will be happy when they see the game thriving in any part of the world. 

“They support us fully and what is important is for us to keep alive the lines of engagement with them and all the key stakeholders. 

“We are hoping to get another high-level meeting here, with other key stakeholders, and we are glad that behind the doors we are doing something for football.” 

The acting president added that COSAFA reiterated their support for Zimbabwe given the country was one of the most competitive nations in the region. 

“COSAFA fully recognises our value. They hope that by the time they stage the COSAFA tournaments for their age-group teams, as well as the women’s teams, our issues would have been resolved by then,” said Banda. Banda was installed by the ZIFA Congress to fill the void created by the departure of Kamambo. 

The ZIFA board last week co-opted three more members — Kweza, Alois Masepe and Kenneth Mhlope — into the leadership.

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