BY KEVIN MAPASURE
THE Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) has taken the Zimbabwe Warriors out of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers claiming it had no money to host home matches in neighbouring countries.
Last week, NewsDay Sport reported that the Warriors were due to participate in the Afcon qualifiers with plans to approach the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and would play home matches in Zambia or Botswana.
But the Warriors are set to miss out on the next Afcon finals that will be played in Ivory Coast, having been placed in the same group as Morocco, South Africa and Liberia for the qualifiers.
Kenya, who like Zimbabwe have been suspended by Fifa, have since been booted out of the qualifiers after they failed to resolve their issues on time.
The Confederation of African Football (Caf) had afforded both Zimbabwe and Kenya room to resolve their issues before the qualifiers start, but the two nations are adamant on getting rid of their football associations.
Fifa demanded that Zimbabwe should reinstate the Felton Kamambo-led board that was dissolved by SRC last year to have the suspension lifted.
According to sources, SRC and Fifa have had further meetings since the suspension.
National team players had already been invited for the qualifiers against Liberia at home and South Africa away, but the SRC is not prioritising Afcon, claiming the country does not have a stadium to host international
Zimbabwe’s stadiums were banned from hosting international matches by Caf after the country failed to modernise its facilities.
The authorities have explored the idea of playing home matches in Botswana or Zambia, but say funds are not permitting.
The SRC is still hoping that Fifa will endorse resolutions of the emergency general meeting held in Harare on April 23, where Kamambo, Philemon Machana and Bryton Malandule were recalled by the congress.
Farai Jere, Barbra Chikosi and Sugar Chagonda could have their suspension lifted by SRC, while Gift Banda’s reinstatement is set to be ratified, only if Fifa endorses the April 23 meeting’s resolutions.
The SRC is hoping that a roadmap can be worked out between the reconstituted Zifa, Fifa and the restructuring committee.
Meanwhile, Zifa chief executive Joseph Mamutse is set to have his suspension by the SRC lifted after he is said to have distanced himself from some of the letters he is said to have authored.
Mamutse is said to have told the police that his electronic signature was used fraudulently.
It is likely that after he is allowed back into office, an internal process will determine his fate.
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