Inside sport: Who is fooling who?

Felton Kamambo

IT was good to hear Zifa spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela, telling the nation that Zifa was pressing ahead with reforms to bring back normalcy to Zimbabwean football.

Gwesela — we can assume — is the best person to tell us where Zifa needs cleansing as he has been there at the association’s headquarters - from the problematic days of Cuthbert Dube to the reign of Felton Kamambo via the days of Phillip Chiyangwa.

We can further assume that Gwesela, from his long association with countless Zifa leaderships, knows exactly where the abnormality in Zifa is and where it has always been, and where exactly needs to be corrected.

We cannot fault Gwesela for the problems long associated with Zifa during and after Dube, Chiyangwa and Kamambo, because he has just been an employee or a ‘runner’ in street terms.

The football administrator - it is not in question - surely knows his way around the corridors of the power of Zimbabwean football as he has served as the Zifa spokesperson, a member of the Zifa Grounds Committee, Club Licensing, and acting CEO.

No employee has wielded so much power in Zimbabwean football as has Gwesela. Even the late great football administrator Rita Musekiwa or even Lazarus Mhurushomana himself would sit back and take notice.

Even Kennedy Ndebele at the Premier Soccer League or Chris Sibanda, the founder of the PSL, will look back in admiration at the manner in which Gwesela has held so many different portfolios at the football association.

Gwesela has to be praised for managing to stay for long at the football headquarters where the likes of Henrietta Rushwaya and Jonathan Mashingaidze failed to survive, where even the grey-haired Joseph Kaundura found it too hot and left.

Gwesela was this week straight to the point telling the nation that Zimbabwean football’s cleansing had begun and for that matter starting with the referees.

Gwesela was honest enough to say the Zifa board had decided to start with refereeing because of the many complaints that have been leveled against that section of Zimbabwean football.

“We started with referees because there have been so many complaints about lack of professionalism and declining standards which were a threat to the game. We are also working on reforms on coaches, administration and development, Gwesela was quoted as saying.

What, however, is clear is that Gwesela and his brothers and sisters at the Zifa board are trying to divert attention from the bigger problem facing Zimbabwean football to the referees because Fifa banned Obert Zhoya.

Nobody disputes that there is a problem with our referees but starting with that small section of Zimbabwean football and forgetting the root cause of the crisis is getting it all wrong.

It should be noted that the forthcoming Zifa board will obviously have a look at the referees and coaches issue thereby rendering the current exercise useless.

The reason why Zimbabwean football chased Felton Kamambo was that the problem was at the centre of administration and that is where the cleansing of Zimbabwean football should begin - The Zifa Assembly and the Zifa board.

Why has Zimbabwean football all of a sudden forgotten that the term of the all-powerful Zifa Assembly has expired?

Why has Zimbabwean football forgotten that elections should be held at Zifa to replace - first the Zifa Assembly and then the Felton Kamambo board?

Why was there all that noise about Kamambo if his position was not all that important to the extent that the case of his successor is not being treated as a matter of urgency?

The ideal situation would have been to put in office a new Zifa Assembly, which would then elect a new Zifa board and that board would then sort out the issue of referees, coaches, and open negotiations with Fifa.

The question is: Is there someone or people who are trying to hang on to their current positions by taking advantage of situations which have availed themselves and are resisting following the proven path?

Who exactly is trying to fool who?

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