Zifa habits refuse to die


They say old habits die hard.

Just when we all thought the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa)’s demons had been exorcised by the passage of the yesteryear, once again that has been proven wrong.

The chaotic nature in which the national soccer team’s trip to Botswana for a friendly match has been handled might be a harbinger of a proliferation of blunders in store for the nation as the year begins.

Most foreign-based players have either ignored or turned down the offer to play against the 2012 African Cup of Nations finals participants because Zifa failed to notify their clubs or alerted the players late.

As if that was not enough, by late yesterday, the football governing body was toiling to secure transport for the team to travel to Gaborone for a match scheduled for Saturday. Shame, isn’t it?

South African club Ajax Cape Town’s team manager Max Grunewald exposed Zifa in his communication this week. Ajax is home to winger Khama Billiat and Tafadzwa Rusike.

He charged: “This match is scheduled outside of the Fifa calendar and we do not like to interfere in our players’ deserved holidays. Furthermore, we would like to BRING AGAIN to your attention, we are expecting to receive call-up letters for our players in due time.

“According to Fifa law and ‘Regulations on the Statutes and Transfer of Players’, we are supposed to receive call-up letters 15 days prior to the match . . . We made your association as well as the team manager Sharif Mussa several times already aware of these rules mentioned above — so far with no success.

“Please note in future we will not regard any call-ups which will be received after the above-mentioned Fifa guidelines and time periods and we will not release our players.”

What a mess.

This cardinal rule does not apply to Rusike and Billiat only, but all other players. It is high time the right people were employed to deal with simple issues like these.

How a whole association can fail to interpret basic laws is still a puzzle. It is an embarrassment that a small club like Ajax Cape Town understands how football is run better than our national association.

What guarantee is there to believe future Warriors and other teams’ logistics will be handled professionally?

Who is supposed to be doing that job? If they are there, then why don’t they resign and avoid embarrassing the country?

The national association knew way back that they were going to play Botswana and should have made adequate arrangements.

Norman Mapeza was yesterday forced to call up players who were on holiday, both local and foreign-based. Chances are the team will be clobbered by Botswana because the players lack match fitness.

Yes, most of these guys were busy adding on a couple of kilos during the festive season as they were tucking away food indiscriminately. It would be folly to expect a result in Gaborone.

I bet my last dime the Warriors will receive a thorough hiding, courtesy of Zifa.