As the year ends, NewsDay Sports Editor Wellington Toni and Reporter Daniel Nhakaniso take a look back and some of the major talking points and events, the noisemakers and the newsmakers of the year.
She was fired on October 23 after being found guilty of sending the national team to play unauthorised matches in Asia last year.
Zifa legal adviser Ralph Maganga said Rushwaya had been found guilty by the association’s disciplinary body on charges of “conduct inconsistent with her duties, mismanagement and insubordination”.
Rushwaya, who was suspended in July on suspicion of fixing matches in the various Malaysian tournaments, responded by referring all questions to her lawyer who said he would comment on her sacking “later”.
The chief executive was found guilty of requesting a loan of $103 000 from Zimbabwe’s Sports Commission, money which is now unaccounted for
Zifa said Rushwaya accepted the matches against Thailand, Syria and a Malaysian club were played without the permission of its board or the country’s sports commission, who must authorise foreign trips by Zimbabwe teams.
Rushwaya also allowed former Zimbabwean champions Monomotapa to go to Malaysia last year masquerading as the national team.
“She even gave them the national team kit,” Maganga said then. “The possibility of criminal charges is now a matter for the Zifa board to decide but there are allegations that border on criminality which need to be looked at.”
Both these tours were suspected of being set up by betting syndicates, said a report by the Forum for African Investigative Reporters last month.
Zifa’s decision to sack Rushwaya came in the wake of a probe by world soccer’s governing body Fifa into a fake Togo team playing a friendly in Bahrain in August.
The Mighty Bulls won their maiden championship after 11 years of trying, thanks to Joey Antipas, team owner Eric Rosen and his wife Liz.
And this was achieved with “rejects” from other clubs and without their best player and 2006 Soccer Star of the Year Clemence Matawu. They also contributed three players to the 2010 Soccer Star of the Year calendar-Bheki Ncube, Charles Sibanda and Allan Gahadzikwa.
All three have been called up by Warriors caretaker coach Madinda Ndlovu for the African Nations Championships (Chan) camp.
Dynamos finished second and join the Mighty Bulls in the Orange Caf Champions League while Highlanders have been forcibly registered for the Confederations Cup, thanks to a boob by the Zifa secretariat when the Bulawayo giants had made it known they had no resources to take part. Gunners turned down the chance while Hwange were ready but did not qualify as they were not in the top four.
He arrived with zeal and ready to work from Namibia but was denied a work permit twice after breaching the country’s regulations, leaving the Zifa board in turmoil.
In denying him a work permit, the Department of Immigration wrote: “Reference is made to the application for temporary employment permit submitted in respect of the above-named (Saintfiet Tom Julianus Maria).
“I regret to advise that discretion has not been exercised in terms of Section 22 (1) (a) of the Immigration Regulations SI 195 of 1998 and consequently a temporary employment permit has not been approved.”
On receipt of the denial of Saintfiet, who had threatened to sue the national association, a work permit, Zifa immediately wrote a letter to Ndlovu confirming him as the caretaker coach.
“We hereby inform you that the Zifa Board has appointed you as the caretaker head coach for the senior national men’s team ahead of the senior national team’s 2011 Chan and 2012 Afcon campaign.”
New Zifa Board
Cuthbert Dube was elected as the president of Zifa on March 27. His two deputies are Ndumiso Gumede and Kenny Marange while Benedict Moyo and Nigel Munyati took on positions of board members competitions and marketing respectively.
The four regional chairpersons-Gift Banda, Patrick Hokonya, Fungai Chihuri and Solomon Mugavazi — are also part of the board together with Premier Soccer League chairman Twine Phiri and women chief Mavis Gumbo.
Swimming sensation Kirsty Coventry, always Zimbabwe’s sole hope for medals in international competitions, had a quiet year by her standards, failing to claim any gold. She only managed bronze and silver in the less prestigious Fina European circuits. During the year, she lost her title as the African Female Swimmer of the Year last month.
Tennis star Cara Black, sister of the legendary Byron and Wayne was in a class of her own. In June, the 31-year-old scooped the Wimbledon mixed doubles title together with her Indian partner Leander Paes. However, she came unstuck in the woman’s doubles in the same tournament as well as the Australian, United States and French Opens when she and Liezel Huber where swept aside and lost all their titles.
Cara was subsequently named the Zimbabwe Sportsperson of the Year.
Local Zimbabwe tennis players enjoyed a fair amount of success this year as the sport made some strides in re-establishing itself as a powerhouse through emphasis on the juniors.
Young Thabile Tshatedi was the first to lift the country’s flag high in Zambia after being crowned the Under 14 International Tennis Federation (ITF)/Central African Tennis (CAT) champion in September.
The 13-year-old was also nominated for the junior sportsperson of the year category at the Annual National Sports Awards (ANSA).
When Zimbabwe hosted their own leg of the tournament a month later, 12-year-old Mutare-based Karen Muswere was crowned the Under 12 champion at Harare Sports Club.
Zimbabwe’s biggest disappointment however was the failure to replicate the exploits of Takanyi Garan’anga and Mbonisi Ndimande who won the Under 18 title at the African Junior Championships in 2008 and 2009.
However, this year Zimbabwe’s entry young Benjamin Lock reached the semi-finals but will have a second bite of the cherry next year as he will still be eligible to compete.
In the Davis Cup tournament in May, Zimbabwe managed to retain their place in the Africa Zone Group III after finishing fifth at a tournament held in Morocco.
Zimbabwe were represented by young Benjamin Lock, Mark Flynn and Admire Mushonga at the week-long tournament where they beat Botswana and Ivory Coast before losing to Madagascar.
It was a refreshing sight to see the Under 19 rugby team being named the team of the year at the Annual National Sports Awards (ANSA) for the second year running.
A victory over old enemies Namibia in the final in Ivory Coast for the second year running earned the young lads a place at the Junior Rugby World Cup Trophy in April next year in Georgia.
The Zimbabwe Sevens national rugby team the Cheetahs also came third in the same category, while the Under 19s coach Brighton Chivandire also came second for the coach of the year category.
The Cheetahs have continued to lift the country’s flag on the grand stage by doing well at the HSBC Sevens World Series, in Dubai and George South Africa. Prior to the World Series the Cheetahs had defended their Castle Sevens title, which was their fourth in four years before taking part at the Middleburg and Platinum Sevens tournaments in South Africa.
The ladies’ team upset much fancied Zambia in the final for their first ever regional title. Two South African provincial sides and Namibia took part in the tournament, while Zimbabwe also fielded a second string side.
The team showed vast improvement following the return of experienced players and had a positive run during this year’s International Cricket Council Intre-Continental Cup.