ZIFA football reforms stall 

Source: ZIFA football reforms stall | The Herald

ZIFA football reforms stall
Yesterday, the association’s spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela confirmed the draft roadmap was in place. 

Eddie Chikamhi-Senior Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE’S quest to address the problems bedevilling the domestic game is set to take longer than expected as the football reforms that have been touted to bring finality to the challenges appear to have stalled. 

The ZIFA leadership has suddenly gone under, with no significant progress made almost two months after receiving the long-awaited report prepared by the ZIFA Restructuring Committee that was set up by the Sports and Recreation Commission in December 2021. 

The recommendations made by the Restructuring Committee are integral in the formation of the road map and the reform process. 

The Sports Commission published the Committee’s report on January 26 and the accompanying forensic audit conducted by BDO Zimbabwe, which unearthed massive financial misdemeanours, was released two months earlier in November 2022. 

But ZIFA is still to publish the road map.

Yesterday, the association’s spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela confirmed the draft roadmap was in place. 

The document is a product of a series of meetings between the ZIFA stakeholders. The ZIFA board last Friday convened a board meeting to discuss the progress. 

“I can confirm there was a board meeting last Friday and the documents are complete. We are now going to be meeting the relevant stakeholders. It is our hope that the process will be complete at the earliest instance and that the situation will normalise at ZIFA again,” said Gwesela. 

Recently, the Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association condemned the lack of progress while football legend Moses “Bambo” Chunga added his voice to the debate surrounding Zimbabwe’s continued suspension by FIFA. 

But the authorities have since indicated that Zimbabwe is determined to fix the football structures before rushing to FIFA for readmission. What is causing panic among football enthusiasts, though, are the delays in implementing the strategies. 

The Restructuring Committee, which was set up by the Sports and Recreation Commission in December 2021 as part of the strategic roadmap towards addressing the issues that have affected football management and administration in Zimbabwe for many years, has since compiled a comprehensive report which is now in the public domain. 

The committee noted that the “outdated” ZIFA constitution needed major amendments, among the major reforms. 

ZIFA have been out in the cold for a year following the suspension from international football by FIFA in February last year. 

FIFA invoked Article 13 of the FIFA Statutes which stripped ZIFA of all its membership rights and accompanying privileges as of February 24, 2022. 

FIFA cited “third party interference” when they pulled the plug in response to the decision by the Sports and Recreation Commission to suspend the ZIFA leadership led by Felton Kamambo on accusations of corruption, mismanagement of public funds and sexual harassment of female referees. 

However, the association’s acting president Gift Banda assured the nation that the suspension would be lifted “soon” after all the reforms had been implemented to the satisfaction of the broader football constituency, including CAF and FIFA. 

The rot at ZIFA led to the suspension of the ZIFA leadership led by Felton Kamambo in November 2021 by the Sports and Recreation Commission. 

The suspended football executives were accused of misappropriating public funds during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals, corruption as well as allegations of sexual harassment of female referees. 

Kamambo and some members of his ousted executive are still facing court charges over fraud and bribery. 

Some members of the suspended executive including Barbara Chikosi and Farai Jere and Sugar Chagonda were reinstated last year.

But Kamambo and two other members Bryton Malandule and Philemon Machana, who are still battling to clear their names at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts, have since been kicked out of office in a vote of no confidence passed by the ZIFA Congress