UP IN FLAMES…Counting the cost of ZIFA, SRC feud

Tawanda Munthali

There is a Kenyan proverb that says, when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.

The back and forth spat between the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) and the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) has finally broke the camel’s back.

The dreaded yet inevitable news that many expected after months of speculation
was finally delivered.

Still licking wounds from a disappointing Afcon campaign, Zimbabwe suffered yet another blow as the footballing loving nation was banned by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) after the government interfered in football activities, a move that FIFA considers as the of death.

As it stands Zimbabwe has lost its FIFA membership status meaning that the country is not recognized as a member of FIFA or as a footballing nation meaning funding has been cut.

The ban effectively means that the country is not to compete in any international tournament that includes the upcoming AFCON 2023 qualifiers that were set to begin in March this year.

ZIFA will not benefit from any developmental programs, trainings as well as courses from FIFA or the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

The winners of any domestic competition will not be guaranteed a spot in the lucrative CAF champions league or the Confederation’s Cup.

The six time COSAFA champions will not be allowed to take part in the annual regional showpiece as well.

What needs to be done

Both parties should not let their differences have a hand in the death of the country’s football that has for quite some time been in the intensive care unit.

It is best if they combine the energy and resources they are using to go up against each other and structure a road map that gives the nation something to smile about.

The country has for years been finding it hard to come up with vibrant grassroots structures. It would be best if the two work hand in glove and resuscitate the talent factory.

The SRC during this year’s edition of the AFCON tournament showed leadership signs as they funded the Warriors campaign and recently chartered a plane for the Mighty Warriors but if football is suspended then maybe the joy of seeing local players well catered for is short-lived.

Now is the time for both to bury the hatchet and put aside their differences and come up with plans to revive the beautiful game because if they do not do so it will take time before this cat and mouse race comes to an end.

Zimbabwe football has a lot of problems that can never be fixed by one man or organization, a collective effort by all is the correct course of action.

The problems include, issues of stadiums as the stadiums in the country do not meet the required international standards and poor funding.

The problems that are present in the football terrain requires a united front not one person as the nation finds itself where it is today due to one man. It is best if the leaders unite.

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