ZIFA chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze on Thursday claimed in Parliament that the Mighty Warrior player, whose picture eating matemba in camp at the Zifa Village was leaked to the media, had specifically requested for the meal.
However, NewsDay has evidence that the whole Mighty Warriors squad including the technical team ate matemba on the day in question.
Mashingaidze was speaking before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, Sport, Arts and Culture chaired by Temba Mliswa.
After women football boss Miriam Sibanda had fired a salvo at Mashingaidze accusing him of neglecting women football and sabotaging football developments efforts, the CEO said his association was doing enough for the girl child.
Sibanda said Mashingaidze gives preference to the Warriors ahead of the women teams.
And when Member of Parliament Josephine Chitembwe echoed Sibanda’s sentiments, raising the issue of a picture of a Mighty Warriors player that was leaked to the media, Mashingaidze exploded into a defensive mode, accusing a “biased media” of amplifying the whole issue.
This was despite an earlier admission by Zifa President Cuthbert Dube at the same meeting that indeed the Mighty Warriors team ate matemba for lunch while in camp ahead of their Women Championship qualifier before he intervened and bought meat.
“I want to clarify the issue of matemba raised by honourable Chitembwe. That issue I would like to say it’s sometimes proper that the record is set straight. The issue of matemba was amplified (by the media) unfortunately,” said Mashingaidze.
“There was a girl who had special dietary requirement and it is that girl who had asked for matemba. Dr Dube and even the secretariat had provided meat in terms of poultry and beef… meat was provided for the team but then unfortunately some people chose to amplify that issue and there was a picture taken of a girl eating matemba. It’s unfortunate that the picture then captured the imagination of the entire world,” added Mashingaidze.
“The issue is there is no way Zifa would abdicate its responsibility to look after the national team. national teams are a sole responsibility of this board and are also a sole responsibility of Jonathan as the CEO to ensure that the girl child is provided for so please I would like to assure the house that at no point would I be found to be neglecting the girl child because we want to promote the boy child,” said Mashingaidze.
Dube said: “The issue of the girls having problems in camp… I also want it known that when I read it in the newspapers and saw the pictures of them eating matemba and so forth, I personally gave them $500 and in addition to that I also had my own mealie-meal for my farm that I then had to give them including a beast that I normally do to every national team that camp at the Village. So we are trying under very difficult conditions to actually go out of our way to help these girls,” Dube said.
Mashingaidze has in recent times clashed with former Warriors coach Ian Gorowa and former Mighty Warriors physical trainer Gerald Maguranyanga.
Dube who said he had managed to get Gorowa and Mashingaidze together later admitted there was bad blood between Mashingaidze and Sibanda and told Parliament that he “will summon them” for a meeting so that they can iron out their difference for the benefit of football.