Are these men fit to stay in office?

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FELTON Kamambo’s victory during the December 2018 Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) elections was hailed as a new dawn for the domestic game.

Many saw it as a new beginning and a fresh start for local football but if truth be told, Kamambo’s reign has turned out to be the worst Zifa administration in Zimbabwe’s history.

The current debacle regarding the Warriors’ friendly international against Malawi set for Mpira Village Stadium in Blantyre this afternoon is the latest in a long list of blunders.

A month into Kamambo’s reign in January 2019, the association transferred US$740 000 it had received from Fifa from their account into that of a company belonging to Zifa board member for finance, Philemon Machana.

Since then, the final destination of those Fifa funds has remained a mystery despite numerous court cases that have sought to unearth the anomaly.

A month later, Kamambo and the rest of his executive committee members suspended vice-president Gift Banda for allegedly making changes to the national teams’ technical setups without board approval.

While Banda might have had a case to answer, it is the manner in which Zifa handled the Bulawayo-based businessman and politician’s disciplinary hearing that has left a lot to be desired.

Instead of following their constitution and statutes, the association has kept Banda sidelined by making frivolous applications that have seen the case drag on for close to two years.

After the Warriors had qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals, Kamambo and Zifa assured the nation that the team’s preparations and upkeep in Egypt will not be a problem.

However, there was total chaos when the team finally arrived in Cairo without their appearance fees and allowances.

Players threatened to boycott the opening game of the tournament against host Egypt as they demanded their dues.

In a classic case of misplaced priorities, while the technical team and players were still to get their payments, Zifa chartered a plane from Harare to Cairo to cater for Zifa councillors, media and fans.

In the end, the players only agreed to take to the field after assurances from the government and the Confederation of African Football (Caf).

The team was obviously distracted by the off-field troubles and performed dismally and it was no surprise when they exited the competition in the group stages following a 4-0 humiliation by the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The same theme of failing to put in place proper preparations has continued at Zifa under Kamambo as evidenced by the way the team geared up for the 2022 World Cup preliminary qualifiers against Somalia.

The Warriors were shocked 1-0 by the continent’s lowest ranked team before overturning the tie in the second leg with a 3-1 win in Harare.

Shortly after that, Caf dropped a bombshell by banning Zimbabwe from hosting international matches due to dilapidated and outdated venues.

Zifa ignored several warnings regarding the state of local stadia and in the end, Caf had no choice but to take stern action against Zimbabwe.

After the global outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19), Zifa has shown a lack of leadership by failing to convince the government to allow local football to resume.

It’s now close to eight months and there is no clear indication when the game will resume as Zifa is yet to meet health guidelines required by the authorities.

Zifa also received a US$1.8 million Covid-19 Relief Aid from the both Caf and Fifa but the manner in which the association distributed the funds has divided local football.

1 Comment
  1. Soccer says

    Dear Nigel
    Why is it that you blame everything on Zifa including the dilapidation that is at the national sports stadium. Is it also Zifa’s responsibility alone to meet the financial needs of a national team. Where in the world have you seen a successful national team bankrolled only by a national association paticulary here in Africa? I think you would be much more constructive and helpful if you would engage Zifa first, understand what their problems/challenges are, articulate these in your paper and that way we can be guaranteed of success.
    As things stand now, we are very well positioned to qualify for the next CAF tornament provided we get all our players in camp, that calls for money amongst other things which i’m sure Zifa probably doesn’t have or its shoe string, and when the results fail you point fingures again. I’d be happier if you had convassed for support for our national team, Mr Loga and Zifa instead of blaming and blaming and blaming. Just my thoughts!

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