Comment: Zifa should not act under pressure


The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) does not want to learn.

Just about six months after “unearthing” the so-called Asiagate scandal, this week the football governing body was at it again after announcing their intention to set up an ethics committee that would “finalise” the probe of the scandal that recently rocked the football fraternity. They said the committee would put an end to the saga by next month.

In the past, we have advised Zifa it was prudent for them to deal with their issues in-house rather than go on top of the mountain on housekeeping issues.

We reported yesterday that certain individuals, especially those from the legal fraternity, had been approached by Zifa to serve on this committee, but had turned down the offer because they felt the information they would use as a basis for “sentencing” the supposed culprits was flawed.

The report by the Zifa vice-president Ndumiso Gumede-led committee, while appearing detailed and revealing, is simply not a legal document upon which people can be judged unless lawyers were initially involved.

A lot of homework has to be done for it to be recognised as a “final” document. For example, the report leaves out protagonists like Bekhimpilo Nyoni, who was the head of delegation when the national team went to the Cecafa tournament in East Africa.

The Gumede committee admitted their report was flawed because it left out vital information and names.

In other instances, the report fingered people who never went to Asia and Zifa have since apologised. It is on these premises that reputable minds whom Zifa had targeted do not want to come in.

It seems the association is hurrying up on this delicate issue without wide consultations. Put simply, Zifa in most cases jump the gun.

Having suspended three of their board members, vice-president Kenny Marange, Northern Region chairman Solomon Mugavazi and board member development Methembe Ndlovu based on Asiagate last week, Zifa were under pressure to announce to the nation their next step.

But they prematurely made the announcement. That is why now they are at sixes and sevens on who would, and when they would constitute the ethics committee.

While there is an existing ethics committee led by Southern Region chairman Gift Banda, Zifa have been advised by some stakeholders they should leave out active members of the association in the exercise because they are afraid the committee would take sides.

We think that is good advice because certain members in the Zifa board, including Banda, are interested parties and cannot be trusted with the exercise.

We even believe the Gumede committee was not the best for investigating the Asian trips because they had served football before and could have had previous clashes with those that they were investigating.

It was supposed to be an independent body under Zifa supervision. The same goes with the ethics committee, it should be an independent organ divorced from the day-to-day operations of Zifa.

Zifa should put a well-thought-out process in this whole issue so that their conclusions become conclusive and credible.

There is no need to take a populist position while dragging this issue longer than necessary and in the process, hurting football development.

As it is great, emphasis must be put on preparations for the Warriors’ decider against Cape Verde next month.

Unfortunately, attention has shifted to other things which might be a wild goose chase.