The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) yesterday bared the national U-20 team from traveling to South Africa for the COSAFA tournament, a decision which is somewhat controversial if probed into.

In making the decision, the commission argues that the Felton Kamambo-led ZIFA board did not inform them of the trip 30 days before in accordance with guidelines set for teams to travel outside the country in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

ZIFA did however write to the commission seeking clearance for all teams, including the senior men’s team, who travelled to Algeria for an AFCON qualifier, the U-17 men’s team which travelled for the COSAFA tournament but went on to be disqualified, the U-17 and U-20 women’s teams which also travelled to the Rainbow Nation and even Zimbabwe’s representatives in the CAF Champions League FC Platinum, who are set to travel to Mozambique to face Costa do Sol.

The later is dated October 9 and was sent to the SRC, according to ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela.

It therefore boggles the mind why the SRC would bar only the U-20 side considering that all other teams were allowed to travel.

Please be advised that this tour is NOT APPROVED for failure to abide by the set regulations for sport tours outside the country. 

“As previously advised, all approvals for foreign tours in this Covid-19 pandemic era require approvals from the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation and the Minister of Health and Child Care,” reads part of the Commission’s letter to ZIFA. 

The SRC also argue the country’s football governing body ought to have submitted the traveling  part 21 days before the start of the tournament, which is scheduled for December 3-13 in Port Elizabeth.

That provision was also not followed in the case of the senior team when it travelled to Algiers.

In their defense also, ZIFA argue that it’s not possible for the traveling part to be submitted to the SRC 21 days before as it requires a provisional squad, which is usually named two weeks before a game.

ZIFA have since written to Sports Minister Kirsty Coventry seeking reprieve but should Tonderai Ndiraya’s charges fail to travel for the regional tournament, they (ZIFA) face a USD150 000 fine in terms of section 18.8 of the COSAFA constitution.