ZIFA press ahead with reforms ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela

Eddie Chikamhi

Senior Sports Reporter

THE ZIFA board have said they are pressing ahead with the football reforms as part of the efforts to bring back normalcy in the local game. 

The association’s spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela yesterday said the football leadership was working round the clock to address some of the ills pointed out by the Sports and Recreation Commission as part of the combined efforts to cleanse the game.

Zimbabwe are currently under FIFA suspension and the different initiatives are part of the measures being taken to bring the game back on its feet before approaching FIFA for readmission. 

“Reforms are taking place, more specifically on the referees’ side,” said Gwesela.

“We started with the referees because there have been so many complaints about lack of professionalism and the declining standards, which was a threat to the game.

“So we have started working with that sector. We have asked each and every referee to submit their curriculum vitaes so that we get to understand where they are coming from and how they got the appointments. 

“This week the referees will conduct a fitness course, as part of the reforms. Very soon we will come up with a document of rules and regulations, something which never existed with our local referees.” 

ZIFA have reduced the referees’ panel and are also working on introducing age caps and the gender quota. 

The association last month had a tripartite meeting with the ZIFA Restructuring Committee, that was set up by the Sports Commission, where ZIFA gave an update on the progress they have made on their front. There is still more to be done. The association has often come under criticism for moving at a snail’s pace. 

“We are also working on reforms on coaches, administration and development, among other key sectors of the game. 

“What we are simply saying is that every sector of the game is going to be reformed so that when we come back to international football, our game will have been truly reformed,” said Gwesela. 

Football structures had collapsed following a long period of mismanagement by the different ZIFA executive committees, prompting the Sports Commission to step in. 

The Sports Commission set up the ZIFA Restructuring Committee as part of their strategic roadmap towards addressing the issues that have affected football management and administration in Zimbabwe and also to create pathways for growth. It was appointed in line with the provisions of Section 21, as well as 19(b) and 20 (c) of the SRC Act to tackle issues of strategic nature in the search for solutions in Zimbabwe’s perennial football administration problems. 

The Restructuring Committee was tasked with reviewing the ZIFA Constitution in order to reform the governance structures of ZIFA, in particular the election and composition of the ZIFA Congress. 

They also have a specific mandate to review and reform junior football and women’s football structures in the country to ensure for the sustainable development of football at grassroots levels in Zimbabwe.

The Sports Commission have also tasked a team of auditors to carry out a forensic audit into the ZIFA books. 

The Committee will develop a strategic plan with a four-year implementation cycle for consideration, and if deemed fit, for adoption by the ZIFA Board. 

“The BDO forensic audit report will be availed at the end of September, 2022,” said the Sports Commission in a statement recently. 

“Presently, certain of the current and former members of the ZIFA executive committee, as well as the general secretary, have been asked by BDO to provide clarity and insight into certain transactions relating to the finances of ZIFA. These responses are the main outstanding issues before the report is finalised,” the SRC said. 

“Likewise, the Restructuring Committee expects to complete its findings and final recommendations to the SRC within a period that will allow ZIFA members in a general meeting to consider the same for adoption. The recommendations will form the basis of the implementation matrix; it being noted that the Restructuring Committee submitted its preliminary findings to the SRC in August, 2022. 

“Upon the submission of the final BDO forensic audit report as well as that of the Restructuring Committee, ZIFA shall convene an extraordinary general meeting (‘EGM’) of its members to consider the same. It is the expectation of the SRC that this EGM takes place in the month of October, 2022.

“Thereafter, the issues adopted during the EGM will form the basis of the implementation matrix (with times and deadlines for the discharge of agreed reform goals). This matrix will be made available to FIFA and CAF.”

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