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D-day for Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter
03 Jan 2022 at 06:03hrs | Views
THE Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) has until today to reinstate the suspended Zifa board or Zimbabwe faces a possible ban by Fédération Internationale de Football Association (Fifa) from international football.

The SRC on November 16 suspended the Felton Kamambo-led board accusing them of several allegations including misappropriation of public funds, accusations that they refute.

Fifa have however, refused to endorse the SRC decision due to lack of evidence and the world football governing body a fortnight ago ordered the sports regulator to reinstate Kamambo and his crew.

Fifa's ultimatum expires today for the SRC to lift the suspension on Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) or the country gets isolated from international football.

Such isolation will see the Warriors being barred from participating at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals which kicks off on Sunday in Cameroon.

The Warriors are already in Yaoundé ahead of their first group match against Senegal pencilled for Monday.

The Norman Mapeza-coached side were set to play Sudan in a preparatory match yesterday. They are also scheduled to play the host nation in another friendly tomorrow.

All that effort could come to naught if SRC, who have been adamant this far, continue to ignore Fifa's ban threat.

Fifa have also demanded that the SRC dissolves the nine-member Zifa restructuring committee that they announced a few weeks ago ostensibly to review the national game.

SRC is yet to respond to Fifa's ultimatum, which they have said, was not addressed to them. Communication from Fifa came via suspended Zifa secretary-general Joseph Mamutse.

The Gerald Mlotshwa-led SRC have said they are ready for the consequences that will come with a Fifa ban.

Here is what Zimbabwe football would lose if Fifa were to ban the country:

lZimbabwe will be unable to participate in international matches organised by Fifa and Confederation of African Football (Caf). That means the Warriors will be disqualified from next week's Afcon finals.

- The Mighty Warriors who are a tie away against Botswana from qualifying to the Women's Afcon finals will also be disqualified. The matches will be played early next month.

- Local clubs will not play in the Caf Champions League and the Confederations Cup.

- There won't be any international transfers, which means Zimbabwean players playing in the local league cannot move abroad.

- Foreign-based players will still be able to renew contracts but cannot move to another country when their contract expires.

- Fifa sanctions would also see the world governing body closing financial tapes on Zimbabwe which has been the heartbeat of Zifa and local football.

- Local referees will also be barred from taking part in international assignments and participating in seminars organised by the body and Caf.

- The country will lack representation in regional and international conventions and no Zimbabwean will be eligible to contest for any post in Fifa and Caf or its affiliated bodies like Cosafa.

- The country could also lose out on a Fifa funded stadium that the organisation intends to build in each African country.

Under its Project African Football, the world governing body last year announced plans to make solid and sustainable infrastructural investments in Africa, worth US$1bn dollars.

"We are elaborating a proposal to mobilise US$1bn to build at least one top stadium in the countries of each of Fifa and Caf's 54 member associations," Fifa president Gianni Infantino said during a seminar, held in Morocco last year and attended by delegates from each of Caf's 54 member associations.

"In the countries where there is already at least one very good stadium, the investments can be done in other infrastructures."

Fifa says it has already mobilised the funds and the project is scheduled to start next year with countries such as Zimbabwe, which do not have a stadium that meet international standards, set to be given a priority. The National Sports Stadium, the only stadium in the country that was hosting international football matches, has since been banned until it has been renovated to meet minimum standards required by Caf.

SRC, which is in charge of the stadium, has failed to install bucket seats and electronic turnstiles, and also setting up a Venue Operations Centre.

The media centre that they set up at the stadium is substandard.

Zimbabwe has previously lost opportunities to build infrastructure funded by Fifa under its Fifa Goal Project initiative.

The Fifa GOAL Project is an initiative by Fifa to assist countries around the world to construct their very own "House of Football" and technical facilities for the development and continued progress of football activities.

While Zifa managed to build the Zifa Village under the initiative, it missed five other opportunities of similar magnitude as the association was not in good standing with ifa. The two organisations were beginning to find each other and Fifa recently helped Zifa to acquire two conventional buses for use by the national teams.

Other countries on the continent, for example, South Africa has maximised on the Goal Project opportunity and built the South African Football Association (Safa) headquarters, a restaurant, 52 football turfs one in each Safa region complete with club houses with changing rooms, ablution facilities, perimeter fencing and training lights.

Safa also owns the Fun Valley Project — a resort bought and turned into a world-class technical centre using Fifa resources.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe