Inside sport: Taking the right path

Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) board chairman Gerald Mlotshwa and board member Titus Zvomuya during a Press conference on the Zifa Restructuring Committe's findings in Harare

ZIMBABWE’S sports regulatory body, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) has given the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) up to March 31 to comply with recommendations made by  an independent restructuring committee.

SRC expects that by that date Zifa would have held elections in all its structures including the Zifa board and the Premier Soccer League.

First, however, SRC expects Zifa to put in place a new Zifa Assembly as guided by the findings of the Restructuring Committee which pointed out that some members of the current Assembly were ‘semi literate’ and could not read their own constitution.

The route the SRC has finally taken is the first step towards bringing football back to normalcy, something that the football public has been waiting for since time immemorial.

SRC has promised that Zifa will communicate with Fifa as soon as the recommendations are complied with; something that brings hope that one day, our football will be back to the good old days.

What, however, is worrying is whether the recommendations made will be implemented as history is littered with such investigations into football, but no action in the end.

There was one investigation into football by the SRC during the days of Leo Mugabe and another during the days of Cuthbert Dube which consumed a lot of financial resources only to lead to nowhere.

It was during one such investigation in 1998 that recommended that 5 "O" levels and five years football administration experience were required for one to hold national football office yet today’s findings still talk of ‘illiteracy’ within the Zifa Assembly.

What is interesting is that our football seems to be going back to the same old things over and over again, problems which could have been resolved long back had the right path been followed.

What we need to do is to have the SRC supervise the Zifa elections to ensure that the recommendations made are implemented because taking a backseat will see the same mistakes repeat themselves over and over again.

It is a fact that the Zifa board will be responsible for the elections of its affiliates, but the SRC should also get involved to ensure that the right things are done.

The most important thing right now is to do the right things so that we don’t go back to suspend or chase away the same people the Zifa assembly would have elected into office.

A lot of financial resources — all of it taxpayers’ money —were used by the Restructuring Committee to carry out its exercise and that money should not just go to waste.

The SRC insists that football leaders are held by the laws of Zimbabwe and not those of Fifa, but the fact remains that Fifa rules supreme when it comes to football and we also need to follow their path.

Whatever we do between now and March 31, we should bear in mind that our target is to return to international football, and we need to do things the Fifa way.

From the roadmap that was presented by the SRC chairman Gerald Mhlotswa last Thursday, Zimbabwe seems to be taking things the Fifa way, and we should not divert from that.

What we need to do is to move with speed to ensure that before the end of the year our case has been presented to Fifa and presided over.

The target should be to return to international football before the end of the year.

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