Senior Sports Reporter
ACTING ZIFA president Gift Banda yesterday said he was confident of the association’s continuous engagement efforts with the Sports and Recreation and the wider football stakeholders.
Banda, who was recently installed the interim chairman following the recalling of Felton Kamambo and some members of his board, has since hit the ground running.
The ZIFA board are making efforts to be reinstated by the Sports Commission, minus the deposed members, but the proposition is still under consideration.
“We are not certain yet about that (lifting of the suspension) but we are in continuous engagements with the Sports Commission.
“So far everything is going on well,” said Banda.
“That is why you saw that the chief executive officer Joseph Mamutse was reinstated. It was through a lot of engagements and negotiation; which we are saying we want with all stakeholders going forward.
“So far our negotiations with them are promising.”
Football administration in Zimbabwe had suffered years of deterioration and poor management.
ZIFA are desperate for a fresh start following the problems that had plagued administration of the game over the last few years.
This led to the suspension of the ZIFA board by the Sports Commission last year and then the suspension of Zimbabwe’ membership at FIFA recently.
Banda told The Herald yesterday that solutions to Zimbabwe’s perennial problem should come from the various stakeholders involved with the game.
He said ZIFA had been turned into a fiefdom by a few elite administrators, who strangely found it convenient shutting out “football people” to protect their selfish interests.
“It’s high time we include everyone in our football. There are some people who felt they were being shut out of our football so we would want everyone to have a say going forward.
“Former players, administrators, supporters and all the other key stakeholders should come together for this purpose.
“Everyone agrees that there is something wrong with the way our football was being run. We need to get our football back to the factory settings.
“It’s not about just playing football without addressing the fundamentals because we will never go anywhere. It doesn’t help to play in tournaments and lose continuously.
“We need to address issues via continuous engagements with all the stakeholders so that we become competitive again. If we involve everyone and push in one direction, we can succeed.
“Probably the only people who are afraid to have people around are the ones who are afraid are the ones who know they have been doing things wrongly.
“But this board is saying we want inclusivity. We can’t have a situation where we want good and cordial relations with the Government and SRC only when we want money. That’s unfair,” said Banda.
Banda last week threw his full support behind the reforms being undertaken by the Sports and Recreation Commission to bring sanity to domestic football administration, while Zimbabwe are serving the FIFA suspension.
ZIFA were found guilty of third party interference in the running of the association’s affairs after the Sports Commission had suspended the association’s board last November when they started the process of cleansing domestic football administration.
The Kamambo-led board faced a chain of allegations that included failure to account for public funds, poor governance, bribery and sexual harassment of female referees, among others.
The Sports Commission have since set up a Restructuring Committee led by Blessing Rugara. The nine-member committee is undertaking matters of a strategic nature, as outlined in their terms of reference, in line with the provisions of Section 21, 19(b), and 20 (c) of the SRC Act.
The Committee is a key part of the strategic roadmap towards addressing the issues that have affected football management and administration in Zimbabwe.
It is made up of experts in various fields of administration, sports management, legal advisory and business management, and has the autonomy to discharge the functions more fully, independent of the Sports Commission, as set out in its terms of reference.
The committee’s term of office will run up to December 2022.
They have since begun rolling out a comprehensive programme that includes a stakeholder engagement process, discussing what they consider pertinent issues and also football development with several stakeholders.
But Zimbabwe have already begun to fill the pinch of isolation as the Warriors have been barred from taking part in all FIFA-approved competitions, including the upcoming 2023 AFCON qualifiers.