THE Confederation of African Football (Caf) president Patrice Motsepe is feeling let down by the Gerald Mlotshwa-chaired Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) in his bid to have Zimbabwe readmitted into the international football family.
Motsepe, who was elected president of the continent’s football mother body last year, has been fighting to have Zimbabwe’s ban lifted, but it seems the country’s supreme sports governing body, the SRC, is determined to frustrate him.
The SRC suspended the Zifa board in November last year over several allegations including incompetence, corruption and sexual harassment.
However, according to the world soccer governing body Fifa, the suspension constituted to third parties (in this case government) interference in running the game locally. Consequently, the world soccer governing body suspended Zimbabwe for violating Fifa statutes.
Fifa has, however, set one very simple condition for the lifting of the suspension — that the SRC reinstates the Zifa executive committee led by Felton Kamambo.
But the SRC has chosen to sacrifice the careers and livelihoods of hundreds of footballers and annoy millions of soccer lovers in the process by ignoring Fifa. This is a telling indictment of the SRC leadership.
It is quite clear that the SRC actions are nothing, but self-serving. By refusing to act on Fifa’s directive, the SRC does not seem to care about the consequences, let alone the broader interests of the many other stakeholders in the game.
If truth be told, the SRC is setting a very bad precedent by throwing caution to the wind and choosing to drag into the mud the world’s most beautiful game.
Coincidentally, this is the very same SRC that caused a ruckus in cricket in 2019, leading to Zimbabwe being suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
As a result of the SRC’s strange way of doing things, Zimbabwe was suspended for failing to provide a process for free and democratic elections, and failing to ensure that there is no government interference in the Zimbabwe cricket governance.
But eventually, sense dawned on the SRC. It swallowed its pride and let Zimbabwe cricket enjoy its place in the sun. We thought the SRC had learnt something from the cricket debacle. But we thought wrong.
Why the SRC is so wont to going against popular opinion and common sense baffles.
The sooner it puts its tail between its legs and walk away, the better it will be for everyone. Ultimately, this will save the Zimbabwe government from further humiliation.
We are, however, not condoning the alleged incompetence, corruption and sexual harassment the SRC is saying it is trying to stem. We, however, do not believe that the entire Zifa board is involved in all these alleged vices. Would it not have been wise for the SRC to single out the individual suspects and deal with them rather than paint every in the Zifa board with the same brush.
And by the way, why is the Sports minister Kirsty Coventry, an Olympic champion who should know better, so quiet and hardly lifting a finger to rein in the SRC?
Does she even know the repercussions of Zimbabwe missing out qualifying for African Cup of Nations finals? If it were her who was to miss the Olympics, it is difficult to imagine how she would have felt.