Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
ZIFA have finally responded to CAF who recently wrote to the local association and made some misinformed allegations against the Gift Banda-led executive and the local football motherbody as a whole.
Last month CAF secretary general, Veron Mosengo-Omba, wrote to ZIFA truant chief executive, Joseph Mamutse, informing them that ZIFA should only follow FIFA regulations if they want their international suspension to be lifted.
In their response, ZIFA called out CAF on a number of issues that they raised in their letter last month.
In a lengthy letter addressed to the CAF general secretary, ZIFA acting president, Banda, called out CAF and shed light on some of the allegations made in Omba’s letter.
“We refer to the above and more particularly to your letter dated 20 July 2022. The contents therein are noted. We advise that the Zimbabwe Football Association did not write any letter to you dated 14 June 2022, as alleged in your referenced letter. We therefore request that you furnish us with a copy of the said letter so as to enable us to ascertain the origins and authenticity of the said letter.
‘’This is paramount to us to ensure that third parties do not infiltrate the association and communicate with you on the pretext that it’s ZIFA communicating with you. Be that as it may, your referenced letter raises some serious allegations, which, in our view deserve a response so as to put the record straight,’’ wrote Banda.
Banda also reminded CAF that the local association remains guided by the ZIFA constitution. He says the revocations on the former president Felton Kamambo and his fired executive members were done by the Congress and were lawful.
“It is also common cause that while ZIFA stands suspended, it remains bound by its approved Constitution. The Constitution of ZIFA remains unsuspended and is the sole guide by which any conduct by ZIFA members and officials must be measured.
‘’It is our respectful view that the extraordinary general meeting of the ZIFA Assembly Council on the 23rd of April 2022 was fully compliant with the provisions of the ZIFA Constitution. The said meeting was done in accordance with the constitutional provisions of the ZIFA constitution. The resolutions made thereof have not been challenged by any of the affected members within the thirty-day period as per the provisions of Article 31. The said resolutions are therefore binding,” wrote Banda.
Furthermore in addressing some of the issues raised by CAF, Banda said they continue to engage FIFA.
“We have since written to FIFA appraising them of the latest developments that transpired after the suspension of the association. Further, we informed FIFA of all the efforts being made to ensure that there is compliance with the conditions stipulated.
‘’All this is being done with the ultimate aim to ensure that the suspension is lifted. Ultimately, no one benefits from the continued suspension and therefore compliance is a priority for ZIFA,” Banda said. ‘’Neither FIFA nor CAF have at any point communicated a position that the ZIFA Constitution and or the exercise of members rights by ZIFA members stands suspended.
‘’Further to our understanding the suspension of ZIFA from participating in international football events and matches was purely on the basis of the alleged interference in football matters by third parties in Association football matters in Zimbabwe. In the exercise of their powers, the ZIFA members invoked the provisions of Article 28 and duly convened the extraordinary general meeting of the 23rd of April 2022. Nothing in the communication on the suspension of ZIFA precluded the members from taking such a Constitutional step,” he wrote.
Banda said it was disturbing that CAF and FIFA continue to regard the ousted leaders who derived their powers from the Congress which voted them in the first place in 2018. FIFA was made aware of the revocations by ZIFA.
“It is therefore a misdirection, in our opinion, for either FIFA or CAF to continue taking instructions or communicating with the people whose mandate as executive committee members was revoked. It is paramount to note that the revocation of the mandate was done by the very same congress delegates that had elected the said executive committee on the 18th December 2018,” said Banda.
Banda feels there is also no need to cripple ZIFA operations by freezing bank accounts.
“ZIFA was suspended by FIFA but it was not dissolved. It is an association that is still functional and performing all its other duties in as far as the national football is concerned. Association Football in Zimbabwe is being played at all levels. The secretariat at ZIFA is still performing their official duties and the ZIFA offices are still operational. The staff employed by ZIFA still have valid contracts of employment and expect to be paid at the end of every month. ZIFA still incurs on a monthly basis, fixed operational costs that cannot be wished away because there is a FIFA suspension. As such, our plea is that the ZIFA bank accounts should be functional as this will facilitate the payment of all operational expenses including staff salaries. The signatories to these accounts cannot remain being the people whose mandate was revoked. The executive committee made a resolution to have new signatories to the bank accounts so as to enable the smooth administration of the affairs of the association pending further directives from FIFA,” wrote Banda.