HomeSportLet the fans have room to air their voices

Let the fans have room to air their voices


insidesport:with MICHAEL KARIATI

THE Zifa Council is the supreme football body in Zimbabwean football, but seems to be lacking some of its most vital components as its composition does not include the football fan, junior football, and even the coaches.

It is a fact that the fan is the major stakeholder in football in all the four corners of the globe, but sadly he is the least regarded in Zimbabwean football, as is the case also with junior football which does not have a seat even in the bloated 54-member Zifa Council which dictates how football must be run in the country.

This begs the question as to which direction the Zimbabwean game is heading when the fan, the coaches, and junior football do not have a say on what needs to be done to make our game even better.

While Zifa have done their best to try to accommodate most of the associations in Zimbabwean football — including the not-so-active Beach Football Association of Zimbabwe — it has not taken it’s time to have a look at the role of the soccer fan whose contribution is also vital in the development of the game.

Over and over again, the Zifa constitution has been amended to try to accommodate various associations within the Zifa Council, but never at one time did those changes look at accommodating the ordinary football fan who is represented at national level by the Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters’ Association (ZNSSA).

Since its establishment by the late Coleman Majaya and Eddie Mboma Nyatanga 25 or so years ago, the ZNSSA has built itself into a strong supporters’ body which by now should have had one or two seats in the supreme soccer controlling body or the Zifa Council.

Just like the Zifa regions, and provinces, the ZNSSA have their own programmes — some of which include raising funds for the Warriors — which need to be heard at Zifa Council level, but this cannot be done due to the association’s current standing within the Zifa assembly.

Instead of being a Zifa baby, — which is spoonfed with air and match tickets, and accommodation — the ZNSSA should be in a position to pay their own expenses, hire buses to travel to neighbouring countries when the Warriors are in action, and, above all, should be in a position to financially support the Warriors in times of need.

This can only be done if they get due recognition and are allowed to implement their own programmes, which so far has not been the case as they are not recognised as a national football association.

The national soccer supporters’ association now has fully fledged chapters in all the four corners of the country and surely given the chance, they have the capacity to assist Zifa in mobilising enough funds to successfully host any football match in the country.

In fact, the whole Zimbabwe football setup needs a change as bodies like the Zimbabwe Junior Football Association and the Zimbabwe Soccer Coaches’ Association have also been abandoned, leaving junior football in the country in turmoil.

It is a fact that junior football is in disarray as there are no national leagues anymore as was the case in the past when Aaron Munautsi and Zivanai “Zifa” Chiyangwa ran the Zimbabwe Junior Football Association with league football running from the Under-17 upwards.

What is ironic is that with funds for junior football coming from Fifa, Zifa have indicated that they want to introduce junior football in all the four parts of the country, when there, in fact, should be a junior football association for that role.

Zifa should only be in a supervisory role to see to it that junior football is operating efficiently and to see to it that football from women, amateur, to Premier Soccer League level, is running instead of them being hands-on.

The Zimbabwe Soccer Coaches’ Association also need to have their seat back on the Zifa Council so that their ideas are also shared by those who matter in the running of the Zimbabwean game.

It does not make any sense to have the not-so-active Beach Football Association of Zimbabwe sitting on the all-powerful Zifa Council when the Zimbabwe Soccer Coaches’ Association and the Zimbabwe Junior Football Association are not.

Football has also taught us that even the supporters too have ideas as to which direction football should take, and Zimbabwean football should also take advantage of their knowledge.

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