Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
FIFA qualified administrators have said there is nothing amiss with the Sports and Recreation Commission demanding Zifa to account for its finances following controversies that surrounded the Warriors’ trip to the Afcon finals in Egypt.
The Warriors were embarrassingly knocked out of the tournament in the first round following two losses and a draw.
Reports of player mutiny over allowances overshadowed their campaign and the 4-0 routing by DR Congo irked football loving Zimbabweans.
SRC director-general Prince Mupazviriho said they were “acutely aware of the controversies surrounding the Warriors’ Afcon campaign, which sadly came to an inglorious and abrupt end on June 30, 2019”.
The SRC wants Zifa to detail all funds it received from Fifa and Caf during the period from December 16, 2018, to June, 30, 2019.
A Fifa-trained administrator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Zifa officials risked being prosecuted for abuse of funds should they be found guilty of diverting the association’s money.
“Jamal Malinzi, Tanzania Football Federation president, was arrested in 2017 with some members of his executive on corruption charges; most of which emanated from Fifa and Caf funds, and nothing happened to Tanzania. What happens in the case of those that say by demanding accountability the government is interfering is that Fifa will only suspend Zimbabwe, not ban the country, while instituting its investigations,” said the administrator.
“Note that Fifa will act when Zifa officials are suspended from office, and only then will a normalisation committee be set up. Besides Tanzania, Madagascar, Ghana and Cameroon are run by normalisation committees. Look, the normalisation committee has done well in Madagascar if we judge by the systems they put in place which have led to their squad making it to the Afcon quarter-finals,” said the expert.
A former Zifa executive member said Fifa assisted resolutions are welcome in Zimbabwe where elected Zifa officials always hide from the wrath of the SRC by claiming government interference.
“Government is a key stakeholder in sport and when it supplies funding people don’t query. Government through the SRC is acting in the best interests of the public and football being the most popular discipline, it therefore means it’s a matter of national interest. If players are not paid or there is mutiny, which affects the national interest, then surely the SRC must guard people’s interests,” said the official.
“Look, since time immemorial there have been complaints of abuse of power by football office bearers from the times of Rafik Khan, through to Wellington Nyatanga, Cuthbert Dube, Phillip Chiyangwa and most recently Felton Kamambo, who has a duty to prove that he upholds principles of governance.
“I have no doubt that the new sheriff in town Gerald Mlotshwa, the SRC board chairman, is keen to turn around the fortunes of the country’s sports and will handle the matters accordingly. Giving Zifa an opportunity to state their case shows that the SRC doesn’t just want to bulldoze as some say, but is allowing due process to take place,” said the former Zifa board member.
SRC spokesman Tirivashe Nheweyembwa said: “SRC can’t comment and will only issue a statement after Zifa has submitted its response.”
Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela is on record as saying they will submit their report on time.
The Fifa trained administrator challenged the SRC to spread its focus up to the area zones and other organs of Zifa which he said had failed the nation.
“Is Zifa using the funds meant for development to really develop talent? Right now we don’t have any of our referees at Afcon and training programmes for coaches haven’t been held for a while. All these should be interrogated.
“Besides football, the sporting industry will immensely benefit if the SRC channels the same interest that it has done to football and cricket to other disciplines,” he said.
SRC is already seized with a complaint from the provincial chess organs which want their Saturday elections postponed, citing electoral irregularities. — @ZililoR.