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Editorial: Could the ZIFA Mess be a Reflection of Zimbabwean Society?

The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men” – Plato

Almost every week we publish a story on how the ZIFA/SRC mess is strangling local football. Zimbabwean football is falling behind every day and the painful part is what needs to be done to solve the impasse is known. But could be the problem also lie within the Zimbabwean society and how we have chosen to live?

Corruption is the scourge of humanity and it’s one of the main pandemics we are failing to deal with in this country. On the outside and in public, most Zimbabweans talk about shunning corruption and condemn it to the fullest possible margins. But privately, way too many individuals are not afraid of “making things happen” if the need arises. What’s a small contribution to the police officer when you have been stopped and you are in a rush? How about when you need your license and you desperately need to drive on the roads? A donation will go far into helping the VID officer and his family, right? They are not paid well after all, you say. You are only helping.

The game we claim to love so much, is also riddled with corruption. Most of the time, we are shocked when these revelations are published, scream about change on the Facebook comments and most of the time, it stops there. How can 9 out of 25 players in a national under-17 setup fail age cheating tests? How can one of the biggest teams in the country be disqualified from a juniors tournament for age cheating? Surely, there must be a misalignment somewhere, because you need some crazy confidence to even attempt something like that these days in the age of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tests. Or it’s something that they are used to doing and they have just never been caught? Dare we talk about, Asiagate?

Until, the fans and supporters and the whole country at large say we want to do things a certain way, we are going to be always in these quagmires. Unfortunately, we can never really legislate morality and if there are laws for that, they can never been fully implemented. It takes me and you, as a football lover, a supporter, a fan or sympathiser to say, I don’t like this and I’m embarrassed that corruption is happening in my province, my child’s school, my social club or my favourite team playing in the Castle Lager Premier League.

We are not here to shift blame away from the clear failures of unelected bureaucrats and desk jockeys, but we must each realise that we all have a role to play. The train to make Zimbabwean football better will never run out of passengers, there is also a lot of work to be done.



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