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Court blocks Kamambo's Fifa trip

by Staff reporter
30 Mar 2022 at 06:28hrs | Views
SUSPENDED Zifa president Felton Kamambo and Philimon Machana's bid to travel to Doha, Qatar, for the Fifa congress next week has hit a brickwall after Harare magistrate Stanford Mambanje dismissed an application for the release of their passports.

Their passports are being held by the court as part of their bail conditions in an alleged criminal abuse of office case.  Kamambo, Machana and their co-accused Zifa chief executive officer Mamutse and Brighton Malandule were suspended by the Sports and Recreation Commission on charges of fraud, failing to investigate sexual harassment allegations levelled against some Zifa administrators, among others.

Mambanje dismissed the application saying the country would not be prejudiced  by their absence at the congress since the State has indicated that it is prepared to face the consequences.

He further said the temporary release of the duo's passport was akin to removal of their charges since they emanated from communicating with Fifa.

Kamambo and Machana's lawyer Admire Rubaya had submitted that the court must suspend the bail conditions for the accused to attend the Fifa congress so that they persuade Fifa to lift the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe football teams.

"By March 31, Zimbabwe is risking being fully banned which will have consequences to the country. The accused will go to bridge the dispute with the Fifa so that the country cannot be banned for long. They must be allowed to save the Zimbabwean soccer. The State had not responded to our letter," Rubaya argued.

"Right now there is a  soccer international break, but Zimbabwe is not participating, South Africa is playing France today, Nigeria is playing Ghana but here we are only watching. The accused are elected officials and Fifa said they can only speak to Kamambo and Machana, whether they like it or not if they want to save soccer they should let these accused persons attend the Fifa meeting.

"They are prepared to be accompanied by any State official in order to allay fears that they will advocate for more bans. If the accused persons are not allowed to travel, the ban will be effected and those teams like Dynamos or Highlanders would be boozers clubs. We don't want to cripple players because there is someone who hates Kamambo and Machana," he said, adding that his clients would return the passports on April 19 after the Fifa congress.

"Even if the Dynamos, Highlanders or Caps United football club win the league they will not be able to play in Caf championships, but will end up being boozers. Even referees will not get assignments outside Zimbabwe, they will be refereeing boozers."

Rubaya said Zimbabwean footballers plying their trade abroad would equally be affected by the Fifa ban.  He added that Machana was prepared to surrender title deeds for  his house in Borrowdale, Harare, to secure his passport for the Qatar trip.

But the State represented by Kennedy Madekutsikwa opposed the application saying as far as the State was concerned, the accused were on suspension and their was matter was still pending.

"I am of the view that the decision to allow them to proceed to Doha and act as Zifa executives will be used by the accused person as the end of the State case. I do not see how this court can be used to settle Zifa/SRC issues.The SRC appointed a restructuring committee that will serve the functions of Zifa committee, if the court grants them it will result in further conflict to suspend the Zifa executive," Madekutsikwa said.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe
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