With less than two months to go before Warriors stars step on Cameroonian soil for the 33rd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, one of the team’s biggest stars has walked away in dramatic fashion.
By Lawrence Mangenje
The team’s poster-boy Khama Billiat, shocked football fans when he announced that he is retiring from international football after a glittering career spanning ten years.
Billiat captained the Warriors in Sunday’s 1-1 with Ethiopia and for the third consecutive game under interim coach Norman Mapeza, the pint-sized winger was the first Zimbabwean player to be substituted.
The actual reason(s) for Billiat calling it quits still remain veld in obscurity but a friend of his insinuated that there is more to what the Mufakose-bred winger wrote in his departing letter last night.
“Pane zviri kuitika,” replied the friend when quizzed about the Kaizer Chiefs star’s shocking decision.
Billiat’s retirement was just the beginning of one of, if the most dramatic 24 hours in the history of Zimbabwean football.
The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), whose cat and mouse relationship with the current ZIFA board is well-documented, announced that it had suspended the Felton Kamambo-led administration.
The sports regulatory body cited among other reasons mismanagement and lack of accountability in use of public funds, sexual harassment of female referees by key technical staff in ZIFA, failure to address gender imbalances relating to treatment of female national teams, national teams travelling outside Zim without Covid-19 clearances from govt
and misuse of the junior development fund from FIFA and no evidence of meaningful grassroots development.
While the decision is clothed with good intentions on the part of the SRC to restore sanity in Zimbabwean football, it may be disastrous.
The suspension of the ZIFA board will likely result in a ban for the national team, as FIFA is clear on its stance of no government interference in the administration of the game.
But that’s not all.
Whilst football fans were still debating on the consequences of the ban, another disaster struck.
The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League midweek games countrywide failed to take kick off after ZIFA struck back and withheld match officials.
Bulawayo Chiefs flew their squad from the City of Kings to Mutare, only for the game to be abandoned as there were no match officials.
Renowned comedian The Comic Pastor’s ‘Monthly Comic Awards’ cannot hold a candle to the circus witnessed in Zimbabwean football in the last 24 hours.