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Chiyangwa, let fair play prevail

13 Sep 2017 at 15:15hrs | Views
I know Philip Chiyangwa as a respectable businessman-cum-politician. His decision to become the next Zifa president about three years ago not only shocked me but also those who passionately follow Zimbabwean football.

I wrote an article in the Daily News of 14 November 2015 expressing my disaffection with this decision and many people seemed to agree with me that football was not going to be the same anymore.

The title of the article was: Football person must lead Zifa. In this article I argued that our football did not need some popular, fancy and flamboyant personalities to run it, it only needed a football person.

I gave the example of Zambia which won the Africa Cup of Nations Trophy in 2012 with Kalusha Bwalya as the president of the Football Association of Zambia (Faz).

Today, as I write this piece I am utterly disturbed by the manner in which this so-called God of football in Zimbabwe has become the ‘devil' of football.

You will recall that when he got into office, he destabilised the Premier Soccer League (PSL) executive by dismissing key personnel.

Then there was the issue of having four teams being relegated from the PSL, and then there was the issue of having a league with 18 teams, up from 16.

Just by merely looking at some of the decisions the Zifa president made in his first year in office, one can clearly see that the man is clueless about how football should be run.

He may be the Cosafa president, he may be the Caf vice-president responsible for competitions, but he has very basic knowledge about football administration.

On Sunday, Dynamos played against Highlanders at Rufaro Stadium and they drew 1-1, and because it was an emotionally charged match, there was a lot of kicking and shoving.

The climax of it was when Dynamos striker Christian Ntouba head-butted Highlanders defender Peter Muduwha in the 87th minute, and this animal behaviour warranted a straight red-card and the referee Arnold Ncube duly complied, but 24 hours later, Chiyangwa and his referees committee rescinded the red-card.

It is something unheard of, it is unprecedented. What makes it even worse is that the match was beamed live on SuperSport and the whole world was watching and saw the pernicious head-butt.

I have seen legendary footballers across the world being red-carded for head-butting opponents.

In 2000, Austin "Jay Jay" Okocha was red-carded by our very own Felix Tangawarima for head-butting a Senegalese defender.

The red-card was never rescinded. In 2006, Zinedine Zidane was red-carded for head-butting Italian defender Marco Materazzi in the World Cup final which Italy won. The red-card was not rescinded.

I have a few troubling questions for Chiyangwa as follows: What makes Ntouba so special that his red-card for committing a similar offence is rescinded?

How did the referees committee chaired by Chiyangwa himself arrive at the decision to rescind that red-card?

Why is this decision coinciding with Dynamos' match against CAPS United on Sunday? Is this mere coincidence?

Whose interests is Zifa serving? Did Dynamos lodge a complaint to Zifa about the red-card? Where is the spirit of fair-play? Isn't this a case of some animals being more equal than others?

Dynamos have been playing so well that they do not need anyone's help to win the 2017 league title, but this diabolic decision will, no doubt, shatter the club's image and reputation.

I feel sorry for Lloyd Mutasa who has worked very hard to assemble such a competitive team. It will be in both Mutasa's and the club's best interest not to field Ntouba until his ban lapses.

Otherwise, other clubs will question the whole idea of competing in a league where the powers that be seem to favour a certain club ahead of others. It destroys the essence of competition.

We need fair play to prevail in our football and this decision by Chiyangwa and his committee completely destroys this spirit.

I must say that this is a shocking football decision. Kubirira kuri pachena uku!

*Prof. Fainos Mangena is a journalist and an academic.

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