The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) on Tuesday failed to send the Under-17 team to Congo, Brazzaville, for the African Youth Championships second round, second leg, signalling the darkest hour in our football after the much-publicised Asiagate.
The Young Warriors were supposed to have clashed with their Central African counterparts on Tuesday afternoon, but the bankrupt association failed to raise funds for the team – the second time they have done so in less than three months after failing to send the Under-20 team to Angola for a similar mission.
What it means is that age group teams face three-year bans from the Confederation of African Football (Caf) and a further
$5 000 each for failing to fulfil the two fixtures.
The far-reaching consequences would not be coughing up
$10 000 as a fine to Caf, but the lost chance by the two age groups to dance with their counterparts on the African arena and indeed globally.
The irony of the sad turn of events is that it comes just a week after a clueless Zifa board led by embattled president Cuthbert Dube disbanded the senior team after they failed to qualify for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals in South Africa next January.
Where then will Dube and his fellow board members get the next generation of the Warriors? People were of the view that following the dissolving of the Warriors, the Under-17, Under-20 and Under-23 teams would form the nucleus of the future, but that cannot happen now.
Realistically Zifa can rebuild the next Warriors from the Under-15 team because most of the Under-23 team members are also trapped in the Asiagate web. It is a predicament that has exposed Dube during his tenure because it has left Zimbabwe marooned because of misguided decisions from the home front.
There has been a tendency by this current board to emphasise on Asiagate as if that was their main mandate when coming into power.
This board has totally forgotten that its major mandate is the development of football, but unfortunately they have killed that area by failing to send two of our future teams for crucial matches.
Certain quarters have suggested that some of the board members came into this administration to fight personal wars.
One would be tempted to side with such perceptions because they have done nothing on the ground except preaching about Asiagate day and night.
Dube himself has spent nearly a million dollars fighting Asiagate, but sadly he lacked foresight because the real people he was supposed to have given more attention are the junior teams Zifa have neglected.
Zifa have neglected the future of Zimbabwean football.
We think this is reckless and misdirected priorities.
People who do not know their primary obligations are clueless and in that regard need to be removed and pave way for serious characters.
After all, Dube is on record saying: “I don’t need football, football needs me.” Why does a country entrust a man “who does not need football” to run football?