Langa suspended

via Langa suspended – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 6, 2015

Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture and MP for Insiza South in Matebeleland South, Andrew Langa, has been suspended for two years by his party Zanu PF.

Langa is also former chairperson of the province.

He was suspended together with 38 others, including former ICT and Courier Services minister Webster Shamu and Sylvester Nguni, former Minister of State in the office of the axed Vice-President Joice Mujuru. Shamu and Nguni were suspended for three years in the latest purges against those believed to be linked to Mujuru.

The announcement was made last night by party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo, but it was not clear if Langa would also lose his ministerial post.

Sources last night said Langa was likely to be replaced by recently-appointed chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Culture Tapiwa Matangaidze, a vocal critic of beleaguered football association Zifa.

Matangaidze, a former chairperson of the Premier Soccer League, is MP for Shurugwi North.

The departure of Langa will send shockwaves at Zifa after he was accused of treating the Cuthbert Dube-led organisation with kid gloves despite the deteriorating state of the game.

Langa’s suspension comes after the Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters’ Association (ZNSSA) called on the Footballers’ Union of Zimbabwe to withdraw all players from national team assignments in a bid to force Dube out of office.

This, if it takes place, means Zifa will not be able to assemble a team for next Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Malawi in Blantyre and the following weekend’s match against Comoros in the African Nations Championships.

This also means the Young Warriors will not be able to play South Africa in the second and final Under-23 Championship qualifier next month, or send the same team to the All-Africa Games finals in Congo-Brazzaville in September this year.

In addition, Zifa, with debts amounting to $5 million and with no government support, will be fined and banned by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Already, Zimbabwe is banned from the 2018 Fifa World Cup after failing to settle a $81 000 debt to former coach Jose Valinhos. The Brazilian was fired from his job some six years back for poor results and took his matter to Fifa.

In a letter to the Zifa board yesterday, ZNSSA president Eddie Chivero said Dube had to vacate office as a matter of urgency.

“We have noted with great concern and have been monitoring the events that have been unfolding in our football. As the ZNSSA, we have consulted widely with our stakeholders and came up with a resolution to boycott any future activities that will be organised under the leadership of Dube and we are also asking the government to withdraw any support that they have been extending to Zifa since all the arms to do with the sport are not happy with the way our game is being administered,” the letter said.

“The football players’ union should also withdraw their players from national teams. All service providers should not offer any kind of service to the Dube-led Zifa eg security companies, car hire and hotels. That includes well-wishers eg Prophet Magaya.

“No councillors should be suspended by this illegitimate leadership. We are aware of the victimisation that is going on. All the letters that are being written by the CEO (chief executive officer) victimising councillors to reveal the people who attended the meeting that kicked Dube out.”

The letter added: “We as the ZNSSA we still maintain that the councillors were right and within the constitution of Zifa in holding that meeting. Dube should take this warning seriously as we will not allow his leadership to continue at the helm of our football.

“If he can’t step down then we ask the government to come to our rescue and if that means suspension from international football then be it. Our Under-20 and Under-17 (teams) are already suspended and with the way Dube has neglected our teams we are better off being on suspension.

“Zifa has to be audited as a matter of urgency with the way money from Fifa has been handled. As the owners of the game, we can’t let our game being destroyed by Dube.

“Truly speaking, Mr Dube, if Zifa is a sinking ship what are you still doing in there? We believe you have a lot of dirt that you are trying to protect with your CEO. Enough is enough.”

Dube, together with Tawengwa Hara and Fungai Chihuri, was ousted from office last month by a group of councillors, but their decision was overturned by world football governing body after it argued that the councillors had violated their own constitution.

An extra-ordinary meeting is now due to be held on June 27, although Fifa had recommended that it be held on June 16.

There have been a call that besides Dube, members of the board — Omega Sibanda, Bernard Gwarada and John Phiri included, have become too enmeshed in the politics of the game and must be shown the exit together.

“We need a completely new team to take over now. Sibanda cannot provide leadership going forward and him and Gwarada are too much into the politics of all this. We need a normalisation committee appointed by Fifa,” said a Zifa councillor.

“There is a normalisation committee in Cameroon put by Fifa in July 2013 and had their mandate extended recently to September 2015. With this in mind, Cameroon are still able to play in international competitions without the risk of being banned by Fifa because it is Fifa who are doing the monitoring of all activities in that country.

“We need such action going forward in Zimbabwe. Everybody in the current Zifa board has to step down. Dube alone would not be enough, we need a clean act.