No Stadiums, No Football..


No Stadiums, No Football...

No stadiums, no football, just love for the beautiful game  

by Lawrence Mangenje 

Warriors fans are the only people who won't be amused by the social media catchphrase 'if you don't get if, forget it.' 

They can not get how the country's senior mens' national soccer team is not participating in the ongoing AFCON qualifiers and they won't forget how much a blow that is, to the future of football in the country. 

Zimbabwe was disqualified after the ban imposed by FIFA, for government interference in the running of the game, was not lifted. 

When African stars descend on Ivorian soil for the 33rd edition of the AFCON finals, Zimbabwe will not be represented. 

For the first time in 5 years, the football loving public will not watch the Warriors participate in the biannual showpeice. 

Zimbabwe is the only team in Southern Africa,  to have qualified for the continental show, in the last three editions.  

The FIFA ban is not the only problem the country is facing though. 

There is no stadium in Zimbabwe fit to host international matches as all facilities were banned by CAF, for not having met the set International standards. 

The continental governing body has on numerous occasions that the National Sports Stadium in particular, should have bucket seats. 

Sports Minister Kirsty Coventry toured the giant facility in May 2020 and assured Zimbabweans that there will be progress, but to date, there is none. 

The swimming icon's deputy Tino Machakaire, toured the National Sports Stadium last year and promised on behalf of the Sports ministry, that the bucket seats issues would be solved.

That promise was never kept, and the Sports Ministry's promise to keep promises is becoming very un-promising.

Any right thinking Zimbabwean would have concluded by now, that the reason why SRC delayed in lifting the suspension on the ZIFA executive, is because of the stadiums issue. 

For a body that is claiming to be in the process of restoring sanity to the local game, having the Warriors play home matches outside the country would have been an egg on their faces.  

That being said, the suspension has finally been lifted and acting Zifa president Gift Banda, says this a new dawn for Zimbabwean football.

"Firstly, I want to thank members of the ZIFA Congress, for entrusting me with the huge national responsibility tomove the football parliament’s agenda and vision forward," Banda told the media today.

"I join the rest of my fellow executive committee members, whose mandate was not revoked at the recently held ZIFA EGM, fully cognisant of the tasks which lie ahead of us, as was outlined at the same EGM."

"And, on behalf of my fellow executive committee members, I promise we will not disappoint you. You will all agree with me that our football has gone through a lot over the years, and it is time we give football a breath of fresh air.

"I would like to salute the football council for correcting the mistakes that had been made by entrusting our football in the hands of selfish individuals whose goal was to enrich themselves at the expense of football development. 

"I also would want tothank the Government, through the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture, and the Sports and Recreation Commission, for understanding and accepting the steps taken by the owners of football, that is, the ZIFA
Congress, to address the challenges, which were affecting our game’s leadership and management system."

"By lifting the imposed suspensions, the SRC has chosen to give football a chance to cleanse itself and the gesture is well appreciated. We have taken heed of our shortcomings and we will work hard to ensure that there is good governance in football, at all material times."

"At the extraordinary meeting of the 23rd of April 2022, the football parliament gave us the following specific mandate:

• To call for an AGM, which will pave the way in coming up with a road map for elections for all our structures.

• To institute a forensic audit

• To engage FIFA, as we strive to ensure that Zimbabwe’s suspension is lifted, leading to readmission to the international community.

"We are aware of the frustrations that the football family is currently experiencing, especially the anxiety punctuated with the confusion on whether our beloved Warriors and Mighty Warriors will be able to participate in the forthcoming international tournaments."

Banda said his administration is working flat out to have the Fifa ban lifted.

"I want to assure the nation that there is a lot happening behind the scenes and we are very hopeful of succeeding on this score," he said.

"The executive committee will be meeting soon to plan on how to tackle all the tasks at hand, in line with the dictates of the ZIFA constitution.

"This will lead to a call for the convening of the pending Annual General Meeting whose notice was already served. This will give the football parliament an opportunity to install members of the electoral committee, who are going to come up with the election road map to elect the new ZIFA leadership across the spectrum."

"Let me hasten to say that as we get into the office, we will ensure that all books of accounts are audited through a forensic audit. The committee’s desire is to pave the way for a new culture of doing things within our football and ensure that the legacy issues are all resolved."

"This is what is going to build investor confidence and attract sponsors to football. Our culture of doing business at ZIFA House must change."

"It mustn’t be business as usual. We will reconstitute the Constitutional Review Committee with the hope of addressing the shortcomings of the current statutes and ensure that it is aligned to the FIFA statutes. This will bring a new dawn in our football."

"We are assuming office at a time where the in-tray is full of items to be actioned."

"One of those items is the cancer of hooliganism that is affecting our football. As ZIFA we do not condone this barbaric behaviour by some unruly elements masquerading as supporters."

"This cannot be allowed to continue and hooliganism has no place at all levels in our football. I urge the PSL leadership to act decisively and act now."

"I further implore the rest of all our football structures to safeguard the integrity of our game and ensure that our matches remain safe for all."

"My executive committee shall hit the ground running as there is so much work to be done. In this vein I plead for patience from all the stakeholders as we work to steer the ship out of the murky waters."

 Operations at the football headquarters will continue as normal with Joseph Mamutse as the General Secretary while Xolisani Gwesela will now assume the position of Chief Operations Officer to optimise secretariat’s work. We will give the Secretariat maximum support as will grow the beautiful game. 

New era or new error?