Zifa reach out to SRC

Gift Banda

THE Gift Banda-led interim Zifa board has told the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) that they have embraced reforms amid increased calls from various stakeholders for the authorities to get the country reinstated into the International Federation of Association Football (Fifa) family.

Zimbabwe was suspended by Fifa early last year for government interference in football matters and the latter demanded the reinstatement of the Felton Kamambo-led Zifa board, which had been suspended by the SRC over a cocktail of charges that included alleged abuse of funds.

The interim Zifa board remains unrecognised by Fifa.

In a letter written by Zifa acting chief executive officer Xolisani Gwesela, the interim board said they had embraced a number of reforms that include tackling issues to do with the poor performance of referees, availing coaching courses, the intended establishment of a national division one league and evaluation of the forensic audit report, which is ongoing.

The board said they had suspended chief executive officer Jospeh Mamutse for refusing to report for duty and now await to hear from the SRC on recommendations made by the Zifa Restructuring Committee, whose mandate expired last month.

Said Gwesela in the letter addressed to SRC chairperson Gerald Mlotshwa: “By copy of this letter, please have the pleasure to note that as Zifa, we have embraced the football reforms agenda to enable us to progress.”

Regarding the forensic audit report, which ruffled feathers in the suspended Zifa board, Gwesela said the Zifa executive committee has resolved to appoint an ad hoc committee to handle the document.

“The executive committee resolved to appoint an ad hoc committee to scrutinise matters arising from the forensic audit report and make recommendations. As we wait for the recommendations of the ZRC to inform our direction, it is imperative that we seek your indulgence. If it pleases you, can we have your appreciation and expectations in respect of the reforms, so that we can move as we wait for the restructuring committee,” Gwesela said.

He added: “In the interim, other reforms are in progress and issues that require congress decisions have also been referred appropriately. In the same vein, please accept our proposal to hold the annual general meeting we scheduled for January 28, 2023 as we expect congress to give legal authority to decisions the executive committee has taken in between congresses. At the crucial AGM (annual general meeting), it is anticipated recommendations from the ZRC would have been received. But we would be pleased to consider your recommendations as your reform gospel is clearly what our game requires going forward.”

He said course for both elite and lower leagues referees had been held following complaints over match officiating last seasons.

Gwesela said a number of local coaching courses have been held in the recent past and a total of close to 250 participants had participated.

“We have successfully conducted the following coaching education programmes since the 15th of August: coaching educators’ refresher course, youth coaches’ refresher course, five Level 1 coaching courses and one level 1 coaching course. A total of 249 participants benefitted from these programmes which are instrumental in the continuous development of our football. More programmes are lined for the school holidays period to target teachers,” Gwesela said.

The major challenge would be on Confederation of African Football (Caf courses, which are on hold because the country is suspended from international football.

Banda has emphasised that with the reforms and in line with endearing the country with Fifa club licencing requirements, it would be mandatory for coaches in the Premier Soccer League this year to possess a Caf ‘A’ licence and no exemptions would be made as has been done previously.

That also goes for the lower leagues whereby Division One coaches to are required to have Caf ‘B’ badges.

Gwesela said modalities for the national first division one league will made public in due course with its establishment expected to be ratified by congress at the end of the month.

The Zifa board’s term of office expired last month and the Banda-led interim board’s mandate was extended to December 2023 by an extra-ordinary general meeting held last October, the same meeting that sanctioned the suspension of the Kamambo-led board.

Elections are due this year.

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