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Banda battles Zifa rebellion

Sport
Gift Banda

ZIFA interim president Gift Banda is battling a rebellion from some of the association’s members who have refused to recognise his executive board.

The association’s Central and Southern regions as well as the Mashonaland Central province have in the last few months completely shunned the new executive’s meetings including last month’s extraordinary general meeting.

Sources yesterday told NewsDay Sport that some Premier Soccer League clubs, who constitute the majority of the Zifa membership, and other provinces are also contemplating to follow suit in a bid to force the Sports and Recreation Commission  (SRC) to reinstate former president Felton Kamambo back to the Zifa board.

Banda and his board met in Harare yesterday where they discussed several issues affecting the game, and the issue of the rebellious members was part of the agenda.

“The executive committee has noted with concern that Central Region, Southern Region and Mashonaland Central province are not participating in Zifa activities and meetings. The executive committee is seized with the matter,” said the association’s acting secretary-general Xolisani Gwesela in a statement after the meeting.

Interestingly, Banda hails from the Southern Region.

The fractious relationship within the association is likely to top the agenda at the upcoming Zifa annual general meeting (AGM) which has been pencilled for January 28, 2023.

But the meeting, which should prepare for the association's elections set for next year, now hangs in the balance as more members are threatening to stay away.

And even if Banda and his supporters press ahead with the AGM which will culminate in fresh elections, it is unlikely, however, that Fifa will endorse the outcome of both events because the global football body has stressed that the suspension of Zimbabwe will only be lifted when Kamambo, his vice Philemon Machana and member Bryton Malandule are reinstated.

Sources said next season’s Premier Soccer League campaign could also fail to kickoff with some clubs reportedly threatening to refuse to play until Zimbabwe is readmitted back into the Fifa family.

The country was banned by Fifa over government interference in the administration of the game following the SRC’s suspension of Kamambo’s board.

As a consequence, Zimbabwe and its football teams cannot take part in any Fifa-sanctioned events and continental competitions.

That means FC Platinum who recently won the league title and Bulawayo Chiefs who lifted the Chibuku Super Cup last weekend, will not participate in the Caf Champions League and the Caf Confederation Cup, respectively.

Both clubs have appealed to the authorities to resolve their impasse so that they can be allowed to compete in Africa.

SRC recently said getting the suspension lifted was not one of its priorities.

The sports regulatory body suspended Kamambo’s executive board in November last year over several charges including misappropriation of funds.

Kamambo is refuting the allegations.

Some of the major resolutions from yesterday’s Zifa executive board meeting include the appointment of a three-member ad hoc committee “to scrutinize matters arising from the Zifa forensic audit report and make recommendations.” They also agreed to suspend secretary-general Joseph Mamutse for failing to report for duty.

Mamutse was suspended by the SRC last year over a number of allegations. 

The suspension, together with that of other members of Kamambo's board was, however, lifted earlier this year without them going through any disciplinary procedures.

This was seen as a ploy by SRC to convince Fifa to lift the country's suspension from international football.

That bid failed spectacularly.

Follow Henry on Twitter @henrymhara

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