Women’s football in fresh turmoil Theresa Maguraushe

Veronica Gwaze Sports Reporter

Fresh problems have emerged at a time when domestic women’s football should be celebrating a new lease of life following the setting up of a new interim committee.

The Theresa Maguraushe-led interim committee to restore the integrity of the game and tackle new challenges was installed this year and all seemed well.

However, Maguraushe’s committee has now painted a gloomy picture of the state of the Zimbabwe Women’s Soccer League amid a resurgence in the bickering.

The committee is now at loggerheads with the Zifa Normalisation Committee over FIFA funds and, the league constitution among other issues.

Recently, ZWSL on instruction by the Normalisation Committee, announced an indefinite suspension of the national league’s resumption.

According to the statement dated 10 April 2023, Maguraushe informed all the clubs that the season would not commence on 13 April as initially stated.

“We are writing to inform you that due to compliance requirements reasons, our league kick-off dates have been moved from the 13th of April 2024 to a later date which will be communicated in due course,” reads the statement.

This, according to the statement, was to allow clubs to meet the NC’s requirements list and at the same time allow the ratification of the league’s constitution and its rules and regulations.

The clubs were also requested to register all their players on FIFA Connect (a systematic way to keep track record of players, coaches and referees), submit their club constitutions, banking details, set up clear club structures and also fulfil their financial obligations which include payment of affiliation fees.

However, the interim committee has come out blazing against the Zifa NC, accusing the national association of not being transparent in addressing the real issues bedevilling the women’ league.

Conditions for the resumption of the league are that there has to be a ZWSL constitution and a transparent financial flow system being set up.

“They requested us to come up with a league constitution, rules and regulations and we did but they have been sitting on it for some time and now they suspend the league telling us that they are yet to look at the constitution and then forward it to CAF,” said the interim committee.

“The NC are misleading clubs, they make promises and the next day make a U-turn and now we are worried because we cannot tell if they are genuine or not.”

On March 9, the two parties had a meeting and NC, reportedly revealed that they had set aside US$200 000 towards women football.

Of the total, each of the 16 elite league clubs would receive US$10 000 for the running of the season while US$40 000 was going towards payment of match officials and administration.

They also promised that they would assist all the clubs to conduct medicals for their teams.

Emphasising that they already had the money in their coffers, the NC allegedly said referees were to be paid in advance for the entire season.

“The NC also told us that we were supposed to introduce fourth officials, who too were to be paid for the season,” said the interim executive.

“They even did a convincing presentation of the budget and we were happy that this time we would play our league freely without financial stress.”

It is against this background that ZWSL went on to advertise a post for league administrator — something which did not go down well with the NC who expressed displeasure in the league’s stance of publicising the post.

“We intended to hire a professional to run the league based on the NC’s promises to say they had an allocation for league administration but after the advert, they went berserk asking us why we flighted the advert and how we were going to be able to remunerate the admin,” said the committee.

“They have changed stance saying that they had no funds for the league as they had previously said, we told them (NC) that we are ready for league kick-off and they now say there is no money to run the league.

“They used us to get clubs’ support in their shenanigans, making promises but now they are saying they do not have the money. “They fooled us . . .  “We have submitted all the requirements, but for some reason or the other they keep dragging.”

Amid indications that the fallout is beyond repair, there is speculation that Ivy Mukanahana, who heads the ZIFA Women’s Football Desk, will soon be announced as the new interim committee chairperson.

Zimpapers Sports contacted the Zifa NC for a comment.

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