FOOTBALLER’S Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ) secretary-general Desmond Maringwa is calling on all football stakeholders to come together and reach a consensus on the date for football resumption arguing that players are struggling to make ends meet. Zimbabwean football has been on hold since March when authorities imposed a countrywide lockdown to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
While other leagues across the globe have since restarted including in neighbouring Zambia and South Africa, there is still no football activity in the country with football teams only restricted to training in the hope that football can resume anytime.
Although the government, through the Sports ministry greenlighted its resumption though in a phased approach using the bio-bubble concept — it has faced resistance from Zifa who have trashed it as elitist and expensive.
Initially, Zifa had warmed up to the concept and had undertaken to fund some of the cost centres such as testing of players and payment of referees while engaging other partners on more funding for the resumption of the game. The soccer controlling body has now proposed that leagues resume in March, but Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) insists the return will have to be phased and in a controlled environment.
And FUZ — a union that represents footballers in the country believes delays in football resumption — have had a profound effect on players. “It is our view that the current rift between Zifa and the SRC is stalling the resumption of the game.
While we acknowledge that SRC is empowered to act the way it did when it suspended Zifa CEO Joseph Mamutse and its director-general Prince Mupazviriho, we urge all football stakeholders including government to come together and reach a consensus on the exact date of football restart because there is so much anxiety among players. They earn a living from playing football and these delays continue to impoverish them. It is thus important for all stakeholders to find common ground and come up with a firm position on the actual date of football resumption,” said FUZ secretary-general Desmond Maringwa.
Although Zimbabwean football clubs have started training in preparation for the resumption of the league programme, the row between the SRC and Zifa could further delay its restart.
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