Kamambo must be laughing at us now
Sharuko On Saturday
HAD FIFA flighted an advert for the man, or woman, whom they wanted to replace Felton Kamambo as ZIFA president, the requirements would have been simple.
One of the simple requirements would have been for someone who can pronounce US$32 500 000 without subjecting his tongue into one of its toughest assignments.
Someone who would not tell the nation that for “our women football, we have allocated a total of thirty two mirrion, eeeehhh, 500 thousand, eeeehhh Zimbabwean dollars.”
That was how Kamambo unveiled the FIFA Covid-19 bailout package at a live media conference.
The other simple requirement would have been for someone who knows that there are no continents in Zimbabwe.
Someone who would not tell the nation that Zimbabwe was like the world and, when you break it up, you don’t see provinces but continents.
That was what Kamambo insinuated at another media conference, during the introduction of new Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic, one unforgettable morning, at a Harare hotel.
“The coach we settled for is a very experienced coach, 20 years of coaching experience, UEFA Pro Licence and a CAF Licence,” said Kamambo.
‘‘He has coached in most of the continents in Zimbabwe.’’
I was there, when those words rolled out of Kamambo’s mouth, and I remember it all as if it happened yesterday.
I remember the brief pause, as the gathered media — possibly paralysed by a combination of shock and amusement from what they had just heard — struggled to digest it.
I also remember how Kamambo turned into a social media box office hit, trending on those vicious cyberspaces, when photojournalist Wilson Kadurira’s video hit the streets of cyberspace.
And, I also remember how Kamambo, probably the least eloquent of all men who have ever been tasked with the responsibility to lead their national football associations, was quickly transformed into an effigy of comic parties and brutal skirts.
After he had briefly joined those who were laughing at him, which effectively meant he was laughing at himself, Kamambo tried to correct his monumental mistake.
“Not Zimbabwe,” he said, “most of the continents in the world.’’
So, basically, in the new ZIFA dispensation, FIFA would have said they wanted a leader of the association who knew that someone like Loga coached in five continents in the world.
The other simple requirement would have been that they were looking for someone who would not turn himself into an Axe Man,
A man or woman who would not explode into a monster who would go on a crazy mission to eliminate his fellow leaders.
For that is what Kamambo did as he suspended, and effectively fired his deputy Gift Banda, after just a month into office before axing Chamu Chiwanza.
Later the likes of Farai Jere, Sugar Chagonda and Barbra Chikosi were also frozen out of ZIFA while Kenny Ndebele was a marked man who, somehow, survived the purge.
The other simple requirement would have been that FIFA were looking for someone who, under his guidance, the Young Mighty Warriors would not crash to a 0-7 aggregate thrashing, at the hands of Botswana.
That was the sorry score, in January 2020, when our team were well beaten by our neighbours to the west in a FIFA Under-17 World Cup qualifier (0-5 in Gaborone and 0-2 in Bulawayo).
Kamambo was the man in charge of our game during that aberration.
The final simple requirement would have been that they were looking for someone who would be a servant to the values of ethics.
That means, in the event the Warriors qualified for the next Nations Cup finals, the ZIFA boss would not take his wife, entire family, and even the pastor who conducted the wedding, on an all-expenses-paid-for-trip to the showcase.
For that was what Kamambo did, in only his first month in office, when the Warriors went to Egypt, for the 2019 Nations Cup finals.
So it should have been a very simple exercise because, to be fair, finding anyone who could do better than Kamambo appeared an easy exercise.
Or, so we thought.
SURELY, ANYONE, WOULD BE BETTER, OR SO WE THOUGHT
When it became clear that Kamambo’s time as ZIFA boss was over, a number of the game’s fans kept asking me who I felt had the right credentials to lead our game.
Of course, when confronted by such a question, I always go with an answer made up of two words — CHARLES MABIKA.
Of course, I have to admit that this is a biased opinion because he is my good friend and we have moved together in these trenches for so long we have become brothers.
But, I could have mentioned anyone — from Chris Romario to every fan who sits in Vietnam or the Soweto Stand to everyone whose job is to clean Rufaro and Barbourfields.
Anyone, in my little book, would do a better job than Kamambo, when it comes to leading ZIFA.
Or so I thought.
Well, I was wrong and, with each passing day, I am being proved very wrong.
In just THREE months, since the ZIFA boss’ seat was occupied by a man officially recognised by FIFA, as the leader of our game, I’m being proved that Kamambo, for all his graphic shortcomings, was probably not the WORST man who could occupy that seat.
I know there will be voices which will say that you can’t judge someone in just THREE months’ time and I respect that.
Especially, as these voices will argue, when that leader took over an association which, for the three plus years under Kamambo’s leadership, lurched from one crisis to another and, effectively, turned into some kind of laughing stock.
But, if the new leader bungles at the shocking rate that we are seeing from Lincoln Mutasa, and his bunch of leaders who appear to be clueless when it comes to managing football at this level, I feel it’s fair that voices of concern are raised.
By raising such voices, we are not necessarily saying that Mutasa should be kicked out from his position as the interim ZIFA boss, but that he should be reminded, at this very early age, that there is everything wrong with how he is leading the game.
In doing so, the hope is that Mutasa will take the criticism as something which he can use to correct the monumental mistakes which he is making, on a daily basis, and this will help him come up with better decisions going forward.
We know he wasn’t the man FIFA had originally chosen as the ZIFA boss and he ended up in that seat by default.
But that doesn’t mean he is not the leader of our football.
And, like everyone who holds such a national leadership post, he requires regular checks and balances because, without the criticism, he will end up fooling himself that he is doing the right thing.
To say that Mutasa has been a disaster, in his first three months in charge of our football, would be an understatement.
He has been an absolute disaster.
He has huffed and puffed his way into a cocktail of blunders, some so glaring one would be shocked if they came from a man who has been tasked with running a league made up of some boozers teams.
He has been so poor, in his decision making it’s hard to imagine that, at some point in his adventure in this game he even had the huge responsibility of leading a big club like Dynamos and, to his eternal credit, was very successful in doing so.
At times, when I hear of the shocking decisions he has made I end up wondering whether this is the same man who, in his previous romance with this game, was the leader of one of its biggest constituents.
The very man who, in his wisdom, saw value in Dynamos investing in prime real estate, especially acquiring vast tracts of land in the Waterfalls area of Harare which, for years, represented everything good about the Glamour Boys.
Of course, time charges everything and, maybe, it’s very unfair for one to expect the Lincoln Mutasa of 1983 to be the same Lincoln Mutasa of 2023.
Half-a-century has passed between then, and now, and today our national game once again finds itself at a crossroads, crying out for genuine leadership and getting nothing from those tasked with leading it.
KAMAMBO MUST BE LAUGHING AT US
The disappointment for me is that I really believed in Lincoln Mutasa that he was the kind of man that our football badly wanted – someone not tainted by the toxicity which has been its DNA in the past two decades.
Someone with a background of success in the corporate world, someone with a good name, someone with a fine past and someone with the right image.
In Lincoln Mutasa I saw all that and on that July morning at the Crowne Plaza, when he was unveiled as the new ZIFA boss for, at least, a year, I left the media conference feeling quite good.
Little did I know that we had just plunged into the darkness and into a quagmire in which, as we struggled to lift the game from this human-made sand trap, we would end telling ourselves that Kamambo, as horrible as he was, would have done a better job.
That’s the tragedy that Mutasa is facing right now, being viewed by some, including myself, that he is quickly turning into a leader who, at the end of his term, would be deemed worse than Kamambo.
Surely, even Kamambo, as pathetic as he was as ZIFA boss, would not have allowed the association to plagiarise a Football Association of Zambia template, in their search for the next coach of the Warriors.
But, that’s what Mutasa allowed his team at ZIFA to do when, without any shame, used a FAZ model to try and lure the next Warriors coach even when it’s clear that the football conditions in the two countries are different.
Even Kamambo, as bad as he was as ZIFA president, would not have let his association organise a GHOST GAME against Botswana and, to make it worse, even deceive the nation that they had secured a friendly.
But, that’s what Mutasa allowed his team at ZIFA to do this week and, at some stage, even forced the PSL to postpone this weekend’s fixtures, under the pretext that the Warriors would play a friendly international today.
They even announced the gate charges.
Somehow, Mutasa forgot, or did not know, that for such a game to go ahead, he needed the Botswana Football Association to agree and, in today’s world, such matches are not planned overnight.
We knew that something was wrong when our foreign-based players started telling us that they had been invited to come home, and play in that GHOST GAME, through invites sent by WhatsApp texts.
There is a template which provides guidance to all the FAs when it comes to inviting their players, who are based in foreign leagues, to come home and play for their countries.
That template does not include communication via Whatsapp texts but talks about writing official letters to their clubs and copying those letters to the players.
So, two FIFA windows for international friendlies have come, and gone, since Lincoln Mutasa became the leader of our national game.
It means the Warriors will go into their World Cup qualifiers without any real preparations.
It’s hard, against such a grim background, to start believing that we now have a leader in our game who is better than Kamambo.
To God Be The Glory!
Peace to the GEPA Chief, the Big Fish, George Norton, Daily Service, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and all the Chakariboys still in the struggle.
Come on United!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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