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SRC is still offside

Editorials
Felton Kamambo

A significant number of our readers have reacted with anger and disappointment to comments made by Sports and Recreation Commission chairperson Gerald Mlotshwa who said that his organisation was unmoved by the extension of Zimbabwe’s suspension from Fifa activities.

On Thursday, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (Fifa) congress voted to reinstate Zimbabwe’s suspension after the country failed to take corrective measures in the administration of its game, that are being demanded by the world football governing body.

Fifa want the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) board members, who were dismissed by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) in 2021 to be reinstated so that Zimbabwe can take its place in international football.

The Felton Kamambo-led executive committee was dismissed for among other things, alleged abuse of funds and sweeping sexual abuse cases in the game under the carpet.

The move attracted a suspension by Fifa in February last year and one year on, Zimbabwe is still on the sidelines with no solution in sight.

Fifa also closed financial tapes and banned anybody from accessing money that is currently in the Zifa accounts, which came from Caf and the world governing body.

Mlotshwa said that the extension of the suspension was not an issue since Zifa had not asked to be reinstated by Fifa.

He said what is important to them at the moment are the reforms driven by the SRC.

The SRC has come up with a roadmap to reform the game and it will see the drafting of a new constitution followed by fresh elections to come up with a new substantive board likely by year end.

But it is quite clear, as we have always been saying for over a  year, that whatever the so-called reforms the SRC is talking about, are a nullity.

As far as Fifa is concerned, they are illegal and the SRC must swallow its pride for the good of the national game and just reinstate Kamambo and crew as per Fifa position.

And this is exactly the point that is being made by football fans.

The SRC has told those who care to listen that they were engaging Fifa in coming up with a roadmap but, asif it was not already clear enough, the world governing body set the record straight once again at the congress in Kigali that the only route back for Zimbabwe is for the Kamambo board to regain control of the ship.

There is no reason why the SRC should continue with a process that they know will not be acceptable to Fifa.

As a country, we have lost a whole year and players have missed out on international football, which open doors for other career opportunities and they will keep on bearing the brunt of this ban.

While we appreciate the efforts of trying to stem corruption as well as to drive the game towards better development, what is needed now is for the game to regain its place on the international level and everything else can follow.

There is no point in trying to argue with Fifa as its position will not change and the longer SRC delays in reinstating the fired board and the more the local game will suffer.

We urge the SRC to do the right thing and allow players to continue with their careers because their livelihoods are being affected.

No reforms can be initiated as long as they do not have Fifa’s blessings.

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