HomeSportSoccerZifa launches appeal for neutral venue

Zifa launches appeal for neutral venue

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ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube has said his association will today appeal against a decision to play Egypt in that country next month in a 2014 World Cup qualifier, because of the volatile situation in the North African country.

REPORT BY FORTUNE MBELE

Last week, the Egyptians turned down Zifa’s request saying the match would be played in Alexandria — 250km away from the capital. The city hosted a Caf Champions League match last weekend.

Now Zifa’s last bid to find favour will be directed to Fifa, the world football governing body that runs the World Cup qualifiers.

Dube, however, said if they failed on the appeal, they would engage psychologists to psyche up the team for the game, which the Egyptian ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bassem Khalil, said they wanted to be played in Alexandra on March 26.

“We are going to make an appeal to have the game moved to a neutral venue. If we fail, we will employ a technical team of psychologists to psyche up the players so that they would feel as if they were playing at Barbourfields or Ascot because most of them will be thinking that they would come back in coffins,” Dube said.

Dube was addressing football stakeholders at Chaplin High School in Gweru on Saturday, as he continues his nationwide tour of all provinces.

Meanwhile, five suspended Zifa board members could be permanently removed from the country’s football governing body as Dube indicated that they would soon be holding by-elections to fill in their positions.

Kenny Marange, who was vice-president (technical), Solomon Mugavazi, then Northern Region chairman and Methembe Ndlovu, who was board member (development) were suspended early last year after they were linked to the Asiagate match-fixing scandal.

Former Southern Region Gift Banda and his Central Region counterpart Patrick Hokonya fell by the wayside for their alleged involvement in match-fixing in the Central Region.

“We are a very transparent board and to show that, we suspended three of our own. We will soon be holding elections to fill those positions,” Dube said.

Patrick Hill is the acting chairman of the Central Region, while Morgan Dube is the acting boss of the Southern Region. Board member (competitions) Benedict Moyo is acting board member (development).

Dube said he was informed that Zifa could be in line to win an award for their match-fixing investigations and the way they dealt with the Asiagate scandal.

“Zimbabwe was the first country among the 2009 Fifa affiliates to produce a thick document after investigating the scourge of match-fixing. We might be winning an award for that. We must clap hands for ourselves,” Dube said.

The Zifa president said he felt match-fixing culprits should be imprisoned.

“The past six years were lost to the corrupt machinations of some of our members during the Asiagate scandal. National teams were auctioned in Asia for a mere 30 pieces of silver. The Warriors were turned into punching bags for little known teams from Asia owing to greed. The value system of our game was eroded by the toxic corrupt tendencies of some of our brothers and sisters. We lost a generation of fine footballers to match-fixing and illegal betting. As we reflect on the Asiagate scourge, we are tempted to declare war against corruption. The culprits should be arrested and/or dealt with ruthlessly. Football does not need pirates and robbers. As we move on, let the next generation of players say ‘No to match-fixing and illegal betting’. Let us open a new and clean chapter for our game,” Dube added.

Dube was accompanied to the meeting by his deputy Ndumiso Gumede, chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze, chairman of the Zifa Midlands Province Brian Chishanga and Sport and Recreation Commission Midlands provincial co-ordinator Simon Masaka, among others.

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