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ZIFA NC: 12 months of abnormalities

In the month of June 2024 alone, the ZIFA Normalisation Committee (NC) announced three different Warriors squad lists for the upcoming COSAFA Cup.

The 27th edition of the regional tournament will take place in Gqeberha, formerly Port Elizabeth, from June 27 to July 7.

Zimbabwe, who at some point were the record holders of the tournament, will be making a come back to it, having missed the last two editions due to the FIFA suspension —which was lifted last year and subsequently led to to the appointment of the NC.

The Lincoln Mutasa-led administration, which was tasked by world football governing body FIFA with running the affairs of ZIFA for a year, has come under the microscope for most of its tenure, which ends in six days time.

Related: Normalisation Committee: Did FIFA do due delligence?

They announced the first Warriors squad for COSAFA on June 2, giving the nation that the planning ahead impression in the process.

That squad, which had the likes of Herentals College forward Tino Benza and Dynamos goalkeeper Prince Tafiremutsa, was later discarded and a new one was announced, at midnight, last Friday.

The drama would be far from over, as ZIFA then announced another  squad list yesterday —a ‘revised’ one, to make three in total —to the disbelief of the football-loving public.

Weirdly, interim Warriors coach Jairos Tapera disowned both squad lists announced by ZIFA, saying he is will announce his own team.

“It’s very unfortunate, I have seen more than ten squad lists that have been flighted into the press and attributed to me, with different names. But what I can assure you is that the team which I’m going to announce myself, is the one that I’m taking to South Africa,” Tapera told journalists after Manica Diamonds’ goalless draw with Dynamos at Sakubva yesterday.

“I haven’t announced my squad, you will see my squad either today (yesterday) or tomorrow (today),”  he added.

If the NC can be caught in sixes and sevens for a tournament like COSAFA, how will they fare if tasked with overseeing preparations for a bigger one like the AFCON finals?

The realistic answer to that question is that the COSAFA squad boob summarises what has been a disastrous tenure for the NC, who have struggled in their quest to standardise Zimbabwean football.

Allegations of coaches not being involved in the selection of players, has made the NC’s situation even worse.

Four different national team coaches within a period of a year, does not reflect in any way, proper planning on the part of the NC.

Mutasa and company have been an assortment of confusion throughout their tenure, with the veteran administrator in particular, proving on several occasions that he is a stranger to modern football.

During a press conference held in January this year —the only one held by the NC in their tenure, Mutasa was mum when asked to explain what he meant by “we are going to create our own media.”

The former Dynamos chairman made that declaration in Rwanda, having been irked by the journalists covering the Warriors’ World Cup qualifiers’ decision to run a story of the players refusal to train ahead of the Nigeria game.

Analysts were on the same page in agreeing that those remarks were an insinuation on the part of Mutasa, that the NC wanted to capture a section of the press due to mounting pressure.

During the same press conference, Mutasa also unsophisticatedly admitted that he tried to stop journalists who were covering the Mighty Warriors at the COSAFA Women’s Championship last year, from running the sex scandal story which involved then head coach Shadreck Mlauzi and a female member of the technical team.

Mutasa also hit rock bottom during an interview with veteran sportscaster Lovemore Banda recently.

He (Mutasa) was asked to explain why the NC had somewhat abandoned the ZIFA offices at 53 Livingstone Avenue to occupy a rented apartment in Milton Park.

“53 Livingstone Avenue was no longer fit for human consumption, there is no water there and a lot of basic things are lacking, that is why we decided to let the people from the Northern Region use it,” said Mutasa, forgetting that he has said seconds earlier, that the offices were no longer fit for human habitation.

During the burial of veteran coach Nelson Matongorere at Zororo Memorial Park recently, Mutasa was in another Public Relations (PR) disaster, when he appeared to be suggesting that football fans have no say in how the game should be administered.

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