ZIFA in drive to honour football restructuring timelines
Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
ZIFA acting president Gift Banda says the association will uphold the timelines suggested by the ZIFA Restructuring Committee in trying to come up with a roadmap that should take Zimbabwean football out of the woods and back on the right track this year.
The football leadership have since called for a football indaba to analyse the recent report compiled by the nine-member Committee that was set up in 2021 by the Sports and Recreation Commission as part of the strategic roadmap towards addressing the issues that have affected football management and administration in Zimbabwe for many years.
The ZIFA Executive Committee yesterday met for the first time since the report was delivered on their desk and resolved they needed a bigger gathering to unpack the contents at a workshop to be held later this month.
“The Executive Committee has received a copy of the ZIFA Restructuring Committee report, and a workshop will be conducted on the 24th and 25th of February to analyse the report.
“Other submissions from the ZIFA Exco, members, and stakeholders will be deliberated upon in an effort to come up with the best position for football.
“It is imperative for the ZIFA constitution to be in tandem with the FIFA constitution, and will synthesize this with submissions from the ZIFA restructuring committee. Consequently, all these will lead to the formulation of a roadmap.
“Other reforms in the report like the strategic plan, the Association had already embarked on formulating one,” said Banda.
The report by the Restructuring Committee is a product of broader consultative processes with various football stakeholders, during which engagement was sought from a general football audience to obtain insights into the state of football at various levels.
The common sentiment among the stakeholders was that the game was suffering because of institutional challenges at ZIFA House.
The Restructuring Committee unearthed a chain of anomalies ranging from the flawed and outdated ZIFA constitution, skewed electoral processes, the lack of proficiency by office holders, manipulation of football governance systems, corruption, financial mismanagement, lack of development strategies and the wanton disregard of the needs of women’s football.
It also emerged the majority of the stakeholders engaged by the Restructuring Committee were in agreement that Zimbabwean football needed a reboot.
The committee compiled detailed findings and made some key recommendations the game could adopt in order to get out of the current quagmire.
The Sports Commission urged ZIFA to replace their defective constitution by the end of March so that the reform process is sped up. “I think you might realise that it was a recommendation and we sat as an executive to try and come up with the best possible way forward because timelines are very important,” said Banda.
“People have waited for a very long time and it is of paramount importance that whatever we are doing now we quicken the process so that we are finished maybe before the start of the (2023) season.
“It’s also to our interests and to the interests of our stakeholders that football is restored to where it was before, sooner rather than later.
“We saw the timelines that they did put; even in our deliberations, that is why we are coming up with timelines. We are not coming up with open-ended statements. That is why we spoke about February 24 and 25 to analyse the report.
“One of the most important things that we should realise is that there are recommendations from the ZIFA Restructuring Committee, there are recommendations that were captured under the Constitutional Review Committee, there are recommendations from the Congress and also from the Executive Committee.
“In the same token, we also have our constitution and the draft constitution that we have been given by FIFA to adhere to.
“So in this workshop, we are going to put together everything that FIFA is saying, our old constitution and the recommendations from the Restructuring Committee so that we put everything in tandem with the FIFA constitution.
“We also realise that some of the recommendations from the Restructuring Committee, some of them are of constitutional nature and some fall under the strategic plan. So we are now going to unpack the whole thing and put everything where it is supposed to be,” said Banda.
Zimbabwe is currently suspended from participating in FIFA and CAF sanctioned football activities. The football reforms are key for the game to return stronger.
Among the constitutional reforms, ZIFA should ensure that the new constitution states that the laws of Zimbabwe take precedence over all other rules and regulations of ZIFA.
It also recommends that the constitution should bar public office holders from running for ZIFA office to avoid actual and perceived conflicts of interests, or politicising the association for personal glory.
Further recommended is the rationalisation of the powers of the ZIFA president, the conferring of explicit authority on the General Secretary to manage the day-to-day affairs of ZIFA.
In so far as office bearers are concerned, the recommendations are that there should be a minimum threshold of qualifications to become an Executive Committee member.
The committee also recommended that the national teams should be housed in a structure that receives direct budgetary and administrative support from Government whilst ensuring that FIFA rules are respected in so far as the principle of non- interference is concerned.
With regards to junior football, the committee recommended that ZIFA should develop a standardised system to rate academy programs and school programs, and developm a national database for all junior players that is functional and easily accessible.
Additionally, ZIFA should develop and support quality leagues and competitions accessible for all ages and skill levels.
Women’s football was not left out as the committee felt the constituency should be empowered to manage their own affairs in football and be included at all levels of the game’s administration on a quota system.
The Committee also stressed that ZIFA invest in senior business strategy and marketing positions. In fact, ZIFA should have competent marketing and communication departments and be run as a business, not as a fiefdom or cabal.
Office bearers, administrators and coaches must have minimal CAF and FIFA qualifications and/or training. Coaching standards must be set and regulated.