ALMOST one and half years after Zimbabwe was suspended from the international football family over accusations of government interference in football affairs, it is, indeed, gratifying that the country’s suspension has been lifted.
While it is all smiles across the country that finally Zimbabwe is now part of the world’s most beautiful game, we pose to retrospectively ask: Was all this trouble even necessary? What did the country gain by letting itself be suspended by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (Fifa)? Has the country even learnt anything from this experience?
In light of Zimbabwe’s suspension debacle, it is increasingly becoming evident that the country is now notorious for being headstrong over otherwise very simple issues.
Just to contextualise the matter, the country was suspended in 2002 from the Commonwealth of Nations for breaching a declaration the organisation made in Harare in 1991, which fundamentally set out the grouping’s core principles and values.
After being suspended from the Commonwealth, its then leader, the late former President Robert Mugabe selfishly withdrew the country from the organisation in 2003.
And 20 years later, Zimbabwe is back at the Commonwealth doorstep literally begging to be readmitted. And the above question: Was all this trouble even necessary? pops up again.
So it is in this context that we pose to ponder over the country’s apparent unending futile adventures that always appear to be informed by misguided and blind political agendas.
From the onset, as far as Zimbabwe football affairs are concerned, we would like to clearly state that the country has largely wallowed in the doldrums since independence in 1980 simply because of political interference.
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In this light, we would like to be the devil’s advocate as far as Zimbabwe’s football going forward following its readmission to the international footfall family by saying Fifa’s recently appointed normalisation committee led by former Dynamos Football Club chairperson Lincoln Mutasa has its work perfectly cut out.
If Mutasa and the three other committee members’ main mandate is to realign the country’s game with Fifa principles and values, then we are afraid to say they have a tough task ahead, with their first port of call being the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa), where we believe the country’s challenges emanate from.
We wonder if Mutasa and Co have the guts to crack the whip and create a truly football-minded organisation in Zifa?
We implore Mutasa and team to knock sense into that organisation, reminding it to solely focus on football matters to avoid the embarrassment of being suspended again by Fifa.
In normalising the country’s game, Mutasa and Co should not pander to the whims of politicians whose agenda may have the effect of dragging the game into the mud.
In our view, Fifa’s principles and values are quite straight forward, but become complicated when politicians meddle and poke their noses into football matters.
Herein lies the major challenge facing Zimbabwe football, and we, indeed, wish Mutasa and team all the best in this tough quest.