Zifa yesterday handed its former president Phillip Chiyangwa and his vice Omega Sibanda life bans for “bringing Zimbabwean football into disrepute”.
BY HENRY MHARA
Chiyangwa, who was booted out of office last year, is accused of submitting an incomplete bid document to host this year’s Cosafa Cup.
The Cosafa president, Chiyangwa allegedly misrepresented to the southern African regional soccer body that he had secured government backing to host the tournament, which later turned out not to be correct.
“Mr Phillip Chiyangwa was banned for life for bringing Zimbabwean football into disrepute through the 2019 Cosafa Cup bid debacle wherein he unilaterally submitted an incomplete bid document without getting the government guarantee and Zifa board resolution which ended up attracting a ban from Cosafa where Mr Chiyangwa is the president,” Zifa said in a statement.
South Africa ended up hosting the tournament and Zifa are now facing a ban and a hefty fine for reneging on the agreement.
Cosafa last month suspended the national senior men’s team, the Warriors, from competing at next year’s regional tournament after Zifa failed to comply with a deadline to commit to hosting the 2021 edition of the competition.
Cosafa has also fined Zimbabwe US$200 000, which should be paid before end of day today or risk a permanent ban from participating in all the regional body’s competitions.
The current Zifa executive has, however, maintained that the commitment to host the Cosafa Cup was made by Chiyangwa.
Zifa have tried unsuccessfully to recall Chiyangwa from Cosafa.
“Zifa are, however, appealing on the ban and still pursuing their case with Cosafa to have Chiyangwa revoked, unlike some sentiments Zifa advises the nation that this case is still alive and believes Chiyangwa will have his day in Cosafa soon,” the association added.
On Sibanda, Zifa said they were banning Chiyangwa’s former vice-president for “his incessant interference with Zifa judicial bodies during which he sought to influence the association’s lawyer to throw away a Zifa electoral case, in a bid to foment turmoil in Zimbabwean football”.
The ban, which comes into immediate effect, means Chiyangwa and Sibanda will no longer be allowed entry into all Zifa-sanctioned matches played in Zimbabwe, football meetings, conferences and any football-related activity in the country.
On a busy day for the Zifa’s information department, they also announced that they had expelled board member Chamu Chiwanza.
“The Zifa disciplinary (committee) met on August 14, 2019 and deliberated on a matter involving executive committee member Chamu Chiwanza. Chiwanza was found guilty in respect of two charges of fraud and bringing the game of football into disrepute. Consequently, the disciplinary committee verdict is that Chiwanza be expelled from being an executive committee member with immediate effect,” Zifa said in a statement yesterday.
Chiwanza was accused of electoral fraud, threatening a member of the Zifa congress and destabilising Warriors camp at the Africa Cup of Nations among a host of charges.