Zifa call off proposed tourney “The public is reminded that this is a sensitive subject and that they should not take unfounded steps that could compromise the investigations,” read a Zifa statement yesterday.

By Lovemore Dube

THE Zifa Normalisation Committee has cancelled plans to stage a two-day inter-regional soccer tournament during the international break, allowing the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League programme to continue with Week 22.

While the PSL had already released its Week 22 programme, the Zifa NC had come up with an ambitious tournament to help in the selection of players for Zimbabwe’s participation in CHAN qualifiers.

Most domestic leagues are on a break until September 16 to allow national teams to play respective qualifiers and international friendlies as accommodated on the Fifa calendar.

Zimbabwe, without a substantive coach, had failed to secure friendlies to utilise the Fifa dates and a plan was then made to come up with a national tournament where players are put in regional teams for matches to help selectors come up with a squad.

ZIFA NC member, Sikhumbuzo Ndebele confirmed that the event which had been set for this Saturday and Sunday had been shelved. He said a number of issues had forced that decision but remained adamant that they were still to play host to the event which they believe is the way to go in the selection of national teams.

“The tournament will happen. It is the way to go. We want to normalise processes and create a platform for Premiership players and those from Division where they play and the better players are identified.

“Another factor is that we did not want to be seen running ahead of the coaches who will be appointed. It’s got to happen when the process has been finalised so that they identify for themselves and never get to say players were imposed on them.

“As the Normalisation Committee we believe this is the way to go. We are still working on the template starting with both the men and women’s national teams hoping that this will be the way to go even for juniors,” said Ndebele.

He said the selection process for the Warriors job and subordinates was still on-going.

Ndebele said no coach had been short-listed as yet as the committee tasked with that was still looking at the applications.

Sunday Chidzambwa was in charge of the team that played at President Mnangagwa’s inauguration on Monday. Zimbabwe beat Namibia 5-4 on penalties after the two teams had played a 2-2 draw.

Ndebele emphasized that another factor that had come into play was funding of the regional teams.

“We had to tick the boxes in a number of areas pertaining the event and one of them was the funding. While intentions are good, the project to come to fruition needs funding so that we come up with a good template for future use,” said Ndebele who said the event must be used as a precedent setter for future national team selection activities.

Previous national selections have been marred by controversies.

Questions were asked this week why the goalkeeper with the least number of goals conceded was not part of the national team that faced Namibia.

He emphasized that local players deserved a platform beyond the Castle Lager Premiership where they could be identified to represent their country.

“Perhaps a tournament environment with a different group of players for promising stars can do, they may show something beyond what they would have with their teammates and natural habitat.

The selection of foreign based players has also been another grey area with coaches accused of being bribed to pick certain stars by agents and unpatriotic con artists in Europe who get paid for the boys’ caps

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