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Gift Banda's endless saga spills into FIFA corridors

by Staff reporter
11 Jun 2020 at 07:36hrs | Views
THE endless saga related to the suspension of ZIFA vice-president, Gift Banda, who clocked 509 in football wilderness yesterday, has now spilled into the FIFA corridors.

The world football governing body said they will take a very close look at the case, which is yet to be determined, despite being heard at two ZIFA judicial bodies.

Banda was suspended by his fellow colleagues on the ZIFA board, barely a month after winning the vice-presidency race, where he defeated incumbent Omega Sibanda by 35 votes to 22.

The axe fell on the Bulawayo businessman on January 18, last year, with his counterparts accusing him of a number of transgressions, including usurping the powers of the executive committee when he unilaterally announced changes to the Warriors' technical set-up.

Banda announced the appointment of Tonderayi Ndiraya and Bongani Mafu, as the Warriors' assistant coaches, replacing Lloyd Mutasa and Rahman Gumbo.

Renowned sports medicine expert, Nick Munyonga, was named the Warriors' doctor. The appointments were made when Banda was the acting ZIFA president, in the absence of his boss at the association Felton Kamambo, who was away in Senegal for the CAF awards.

Having been in office for about a month, the Bulawayo businessman could be the shortest serving ZIFA vice-president in the history of the association. His disciplinary case was, as per the ZIFA constitution, referred to the association's disciplinary committee.

Banda was cleared with the disciplinary committee saying that, since none of the officials, who were either dismissed or appointed, received any letters confirming the changes to their status, he had no case to answer. However, the ZIFA board immediately took the case to their Appeals Committee, led by Harare lawyer Stead Kachere, arguing the disciplinary committee had grossly erred and misdirected itself when it disregarded all other accounts on the charge sheet.

However, in a dramatic turn of events and, again in favour of Banda, the Appeals Committee upheld the disciplinary committee's judgment, albeit on a technicality, after ZIFA failed to provide proof they had paid for their appeal to be heard.

Kachere this week said their ruling was clear that Banda must be reinstated to his position as ZIFA vice-president as there was no evidence, when they met, to prove the appeal fees was paid. However, ZIFA lawyer, Chenaimoyo Gumiro, at the weekend told our sister newspaper, The Sunday Mail, the Bulawayo businessman remained suspended since they had launched another application, with the Appeals Committee, after locating the proof of payment.

With the case creating confusion, with each passing day, clarification was sought from FIFA who said they were now looking at the issue and will respond accordingly.

"Thank you for your email, we are checking internally and will get back to you as soon as possible," Thayssa Plum, a member of the FIFA communications department, said.

It's the first time the world football controlling body have commented on the saga.

"Either way, this was going to catch the attention of FIFA at some point because, in the event that the ZIFA Appeals Committee had not ruled in favour of Banda, he wanted to take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport,'' sources said.

"It's a rather expensive route but, if cases get there, they also tend to draw the attention of the people in Zurich who then start asking questions.''

Meanwhile, the ZIFA Appeals Committee will tomorrow hear the case in which Herentals are challenging their expulsion from the domestic Premiership.

The case had initially been scheduled to be heard two weeks ago but, the PSL disciplinary committee, which expelled Herentals from the top-flight league for allegedly taking football matters to the ordinary courts, excused themselves.

"I can confirm that, after several considerations, the ZIFA Appeals Committee has set the date in which it will hear the Herentals case on Friday (tomorrow)," said Kachere.

The Students stand accused of taking football matters to the ordinary courts. The accusations arose after Herentals turned to the courts, having been denied legal representation by the PSL disciplinary committee, during their match-fixing hearing early this year.

The ZIFA Appeals Committee quashed the PSL disciplinary committee ruling and also said it was unfair that, in a delicate issue involving match-fixing, an accused party was denied legal representation.

Such a decision, said the ZIFA Appeals Committee, denied the accused club a fundamental right, as enshrined by the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Herentals were not allowed to register players by March 31, like other teams in the PSL, as they are deemed not to be part of the top-flight league this coming season. However, the Students are fighting for the right to be part of the PSL and will know their fate after tomorrow's hearing.

Source - the herald

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