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Zifa moves in to avert ban

THE suspended Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) executive led by Felton Kamambo, pictured, has called for dialogue to avert a fully-fledged ban of the country’s football ahead of the Fifa congress this week.

Kamambo, Joseph Mamutse, Phillemon Machana, Stanley Chapeta and Brighton Malandule have indicated that football is bigger than their tiff with the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) and a solution should be reached.

They have since been slapped with criminal charges and on bail emanating for the dispute with SRC.
The impasse will lead to a full-fledged ban as Fifa is set to meet this week for a congress in Qatar and according to the suspended executive, this would “adversely affect our local and international players one way or the other”.

In a letter to acting-prosecutor general Nelson Mutsonziwa through their lawyer Admire Rubaya and copied to the office of the president, the five have said a ban is unwarranted and against the interests of Zimbabwean football.
They have called for relaxation of bail conditions for any engagement to take place and for them to attend the Fifa congress following their invitation which was sent to Mamutse.

“Our clients are of the firm view that their dispute with SRC should not affect football and the nation at large.
“The accused persons are more than ready to engage with the State and all relevant stakeholders for purposes of resolving the issues bedevilling football in time for the Fifa congress which is slated for the 28th to 31st of March 2022 in Doha.

“Our clients’ intention is for Zifa to attend the Fifa Congress, together with other relevant stakeholders in a bid to prevent the impending full-fledged ban,” they said. Kamambo and crew believe SRC has not been candid and are applying dirty tactics to taint them in the eyes of the nation and authorities, but they are willing to talk to rescue the sport.
They believe SRC is abusing the criminal justice system and engaging in lawfare with Kamambo and team being suspended, suspensions which have adverse effects on the sport. 

“The accused persons are aware that there are certain larger-than-life characters who have been misleading key government stakeholders such as the State, the police, the president’s department and the government of Zimbabwe in general, with the intention of tainting our clients’ reputations so that they appear as bad persons for Zimbabwean football,” the letter read.

Following their suspensions, Fifa stated that the only solution is to reinstate the executive.
“Consequently, in the interests of saving our football from total collapse and a possible permanent ban which potentially stands to be heavier and more punitive than the current one, the accused persons are prepared to engage Fifa, together with any other concerned government stakeholders, in a bid to resolve this impasse amicably and effectively.

“Clearly, this is not the time to show stubbornness or being headstrong, in settling personal scores between two governing bodies who ought to have the sport’s interests at heart at the expense of Zimbabwean football and its biggest beneficiaries.
“We emphasise that such an approach, which has birthed the current impasse, cannot and should not be persisted with because time is of the essence and Fifa, who have nothing to lose, will ultimately act in the event that the current impasse remains unsolved.

“Thereafter, it is Zimbabwean football and its passionate fans who will ultimately suffer, apart from the elected Zifa executive committee members, pursuant to the impending ban.
“Our clients are aware of the new narrative regarding the holding of an EGM. That intended EGM cannot validate the illegality bedevilling the ill-conceived suspension of the Zifa board. 
“t is just, but a fallacy and not the solution to the problem. The only solution is to uplift the illegal suspensions by SRC and, thereafter, engage Fifa as a united front,” the letter read.

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