World soccer governing body Fifa has made it known that it does not take kindly to interference from government or any state arm in the running of football in any of its affiliates.
Nigeria is the latest example of a country that was banned last week before the suspension was provisionally lifted last Friday — 48 hours before a crucial 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Guinea which they eventually lost 1-0.
Fifa’s emergency executive committee stated in their suspension letter that there was harassment of elected officials.
Part of the statement read: “The Fifa Emergency Committee decided today, 4 October 2010, to suspend the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) with immediate effect on account of government interference.
“This decision follows the latest events linked to the NFF, such as the court actions against elected members of the NFF Executive Committee preventing them from exercising their functions and duties, the stepping down of the acting NFF General Secretary on the instructions of the National Sports Commission, the decision of the Minister of Sports to have the Nigerian League start without relegation from the previous season, and the fact that the NFF Executive Committee cannot work properly due to this interference.
“The suspension will be maintained until the court actions have ceased and the duly elected NFF Executive Committee is able to work without any interference.”
“During the period of suspension, the NFF will not be able to be represented in any regional, continental or international competitions, including at club level, and also not in friendly matches. In addition, neither the NFF nor any of its members or officials can benefit from any development programme, course, or training from Fifa or Caf while the federation remains suspended.”
Seeing this happen to Nigeria, it now boggles the mind why Zifa would let its members — Benedict Moyo and Ndumiso Gumede — be persecuted by the police for “hiring” Belgian Tom Saintfiet when that can easily invite sanctions from Fifa.
As Moyo stated in an interview with this paper yesterday, he was not even in the country when Saintfiet was hired. How can he then be solely held responsible for a decision taken by a technical committee led by Kenny Marange?
Is it not interesting that when things go wrong at the national association fingers are appointed at other people and not the head of the association or even the chief executive officer? And, in any case, how does Dube become a complaint against fellow board members?
Who is pushing him?
When first vice-president Ndumiso Gumede embarked on the Asia probe — under the direction of the Zifa board after instructions from the Sports and Recreation Commission — he also faced arrest.
Dube should concentrate on putting his house in order and not pursue narrow and seemingly personal interests, bent on undermining unity in the game, at the expense of our soccer — loving nation.
All this confusion resulted in the 0-0 draw against the Cape Verde Islands on Sunday in a 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier which left the Warriors all but out of the finals and in third place in the Group A standings.