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COMMENT: Zifa to blame for Uhuru Trophy fiasco

Comment & Analysis
THE 2015 Independence Trophy final between Dynamos and FC Platinum on Saturday was called off 26 minutes from time due to poor lighting presumably because of load-shedding.

THE 2015 Independence Trophy final between Dynamos and FC Platinum on Saturday was called off 26 minutes from time due to poor lighting presumably because of load-shedding.

It was, perhaps, an historic moment for Zimbabwe, turning 35 years under a myriad of economic problems, company closures, falling health standards, poverty, ever-rising unemployment and a failing leadership that sees shadows of enemies everywhere. So maybe those presiding over power utility Zesa did not see any reason to celebrate and they stuck to their pre-arranged load-shedding schedule.

This was a huge embarrassment for Zimbabwe on the occasion of its 35th anniversary. Isn’t it ironic that multitudes of people from home and abroad were watching the match on national television?

One wonders why the match was delayed especially after President Robert Mugabe had finished delivering his traditional speech just after 2pm only for the match to start at 1615hours. Most of the events that came after Mugabe’s address were for obvious reasons tedious, hence could have been cancelled to pave way for the swift start of the soccer match, seeing that a heavy downpour was threatening.

Nobody expected that Zesa would play this kind of prank at a supposed national event. This had far-reaching consequences on the safety of the players from both Dynamos and FC Platinum and the fans who had come to watch the match. Fortunately, such matches are not recognised by Fifa because of their political undertones, but had it been a game falling under their jurisdiction, Zifa would have found themselves in soup. FC Platinum did not take chances and swiftly removed their players from the stadium before electricity was restored.

Rescheduling the match to another date would strain the Premier Soccer League programme as they envisaged giving clubs a two-week break in June to cater for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Furthermore, the Young Warriors would be playing in the Cosafa Cup and the Under-23 Championships in a busy year, which will also include the One Wallet Cup and the Chibuku Super Cup. So perhaps the best time would be the end of season by which time the players would be worn-out.

Besides, the distance covered by FC Platinum is another factor to consider. Had it been teams from Harare, it could have been easier to reschedule. Sadly, Dynamos cannot be awarded the match. The game has to be replayed. In this case, it could have been replayed the next day — Sunday morning.

That Zifa has not found a solution to the fiasco yet and instead pushed responsibility to the equally inept Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) shows a huge deficit in the management of the two bodies. It is important to note that Zifa organises such matches, while SRC only sourced the prize money.

In this case, Zifa must take full responsibility for the debacle because a decision should have been made that Saturday night so that the Premier Soccer League could have further rescheduled FC Platinum’s match against Harare City to another date. The way this issue was handled clearly shows some power vacuum within Zifa that has the potential to cripple operations in a big way.

For now, the real winner remains Zesa!