BY HENRY MHARA
ZIMBABWEAN football encountered yet another setback following the dissolution of the Zifa board after referees and referee instructors’ courses were shelved following the mother body’s consultations with Fifa.
The four-day elite referees’ course was scheduled to start in Bulawayo today while the instructors’ course was set to run from Tuesday to Saturday next week.
Thirty participants drawn from the country’ 10 provinces were meant to undergo high-level theory and practical sessions as well as fitness assessments under the facilitation of renowned Fifa and Caf instructor, Felix Tangawarima. But the world football governing body has instructed Zifa to cancel the course until further notice.
Zifa, who successfully conducted a course for match commissioners last month, announced the postponement of the courses in a statement yesterday.
“Zifa hopes that the prorogued development programmes will be held soon to enhance the growth of the local game’s refereeing aspect,” Zifa said.
There are fears that the Sports and Recreation (SRC)’s recent action to dissolve the Zifa board could invite sanctions from Fifa, who do not tolerate government meddling or third party interference in the running of football.
Kenya last week tried the same when the government disbanded the Football Kenya Federation board over abuse of public funds, with a caretaker committee placed in charge. But the government has been told by Fifa to reinstate the board or face a ban. A ban for Zimbabwe would have an impact on the players as all national teams and local clubs will not be allowed to participate in continental and international football competitions.
This would consequently see the Warriors losing their place at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Cameroon in January.
International player transfers will also be barred, which means local players cannot be cleared to join foreign clubs.
Fifa sanctions would also see the world football governing body closing financial tapes on Zimbabwe while local referees will also be barred from taking part in international assignments.
A defiant SRC has said it was ready to face any consequences.
The local sports regulator on Tuesday announced the suspension of the Zifa board for alleged gross incompetence and alleged abuse of funds in relation to the Warriors participation at the 2019 Afcon tournament in Egypt. Zifa has refuted the allegations.
The SRC says it will soon put an interim committee to run football matters at number 53 Livingstone Avenue in Harare.
While the SRC is accusing the Zifa board of incompetence, the Gerald Mlotshwa-led SRC board is also being blamed for the same.
The National Sports Stadium has been banned by Fifa and Caf from hosting international matches because the SRC is failing to renovate it to international standards.
The government has failed to install bucket seats and turnstiles at the giant stadium. The country was in April fined US$2 000 by Caf over the “general uncleanness” of the National Sports Stadium.
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