How The SRC Sold Us a Dummy


How the SRC Sold Us A Dummy

They are still trying to sell us more dreams

by Virgo Mufaro 

When asked how they would counter the FIFA ban, Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) chairman Gerald Mlotshwa confidently assured the country that his organisation had solutions and that suspending the Felton Kamambo-led ZIFA board was the best for the local football.

At that time, the Warriors were just weeks away from their third successive AFCON appearance, but their participation was hanging by a thread.

Mlotshwa's SRC had been given up until 3 January to reinstate Kamambo and avoid the FIFA sanctions.

After the deadline passed and with no word from the supreme body, the Warriors' AFCON campaign in Cameroon went smoothly with the SRC wholly funding the national team.

The commission even claimed they were communicating with the world football body, and their intentions were clear.

We were all convinced, but sadly, their talk only flattered to deceive. 

A month later, FIFA finally issued their word and claimed that the SRC had failed to prove its accusations against Kamambo and co.

The world football body also revealed that Mlotshwa turned down a request to attend an online meeting that could have ironed the differences.

The Zurich-based organisation then exonerated Kamambo and announced sanctions on the country.

The international ban on Zimbabwe was ratified in March, leading to the disqualification from the 2023 Afcon Qualifiers. The nation has been barred from the COSAFA Cup and could miss more action in future. To further worsen the situation, the country had no representatives at the FIFA Congress, and local officials were blocked from attending the COSAFA Annual General Meeting.

Furthermore, the world football body stopped funding the local game, meaning all grassroots projects under the FIFA initiative are currently on hold.

Having endured all these frustrations, the SRC is not showing any signs of repenting.

Instead, Mlotshwa and co. want to sell us a dummy again.

The commission announced on Wednesday that it has lifted sanctions on ZIFA board members Farai Jere, Barbara Chikosi and Sugar Chagonda and approved the appointment of Gift Banda as the FA's interim boss.

The SRC also tasked the acting ZIFA board, installed at the Emergency General Meeting in March, to inform FIFA and CAF of these developments.

The move appears to be a giant step in taking the nation out of the cold.

However, FIFA will not buy it and lift its sanction on Zimbabwe because the world governing body has repeatedly said only the reinstatement of Kamambo will make that possible. 

Kamambo is still suspended and hasn't been in office since November.

It's also unknown whether FIFA will even recognise the acting board or deem it illegal.

The ZIFA counsellors can also blame themselves because all this mess happened right under their noses.

They only acted after the damage, and the congress in March is proving to have done little, if not nothing, to save the sinking ship.

Undoubtedly, by the time our authorities get things right, it's most probably the country will be ages behind in the region.

Our locally based players would be aliens to international football, and we are not sure how many foreign-based players will still be available to come and play for the nation. 

Without even considering all that, if the SRC was genuinely serious about dealing with the mess in Zimbabwean football, they should have started with the stadiums and helped improve them to the required

Remember, all stadiums are banned from hosting international games due to their dilapidated state. They should have focused on the development of the women and grassroots projects and stuck to their objectives of promoting productivity rather than interfering in running the game.

Our top-flight league needs serious sponsorship, and the player welfare down to the lower structures is miserable.

We can't attract any top players on the continent, and our homegrown talent keeps looking for greener pastures elsewhere.

At least, attending to these essentials first could save the appearance of our football.