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Footballers ramp up pressure on captured SRC, Zifa

by Staff reporter
30 Aug 2022 at 06:32hrs | Views
LOCAL footballers have ramped up pressure on the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) and Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) to resolve their differences so the country could be readmitted back into the FIFA football family.

Zimbabwe was in March suspended by Fifa from all international football activities over government interference after the SRC dissolved the legitimate Zifa board led by Felton Kamambo.

France-based Warriors midfielder Marshall Munetsi immediately called out to the fighting administrators, imploring them to find common ground for the good of the local game.

It took five months for another footballer to come out publicly when Khama Billiat early this month criticised the SRC's stance which he said was destroying careers of local footballers.

The Kaizer Chiefs man's outcry, it appears, has emboldened local players to come out and confront the SRC and Zifa. Local players, who are the most affected by the suspension as they cannot secure foreign contracts, had been surprisingly quiet over the issue.

That has since changed, with over 50 players from the domestic league taking to social media in the last seven days alone to vent their frustration on the SRC-Zifa saga.

A protest under the #RestoreOurCareers hashtag was trending on social media throughout the week, with a number of popular players from almost all local league teams, joining in the movement.

Notable names that have come out asking for SRC and Zifa to find each other include Dynamos midfielder Ralph Kawondera, Caps United's Emmanuel Mandiranga, Benard Donovan (Chicken Inn), Ali Maliselo (Herentals), Donald Mudadi (Harare City) Lennox Mucheto (Yadah), Wonder Kapinda (Black Rhinos), Collins Duwa (Manica Diamonds) and Marvelous Mukumba of Ngezi Platinum Stars.

United States-based Warriors goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva and Mozambique-based Wisdom Mutasa have also made a public expression of disapproval against the authorities over the Fifa suspension, while retired footballer Gabriel Nyoni has urged local footballers to take a strong stand against the fighting administrators so that they can be forced to the negotiating table.

The speedy winger, who previously played for Highlanders and Caps United, said it was time for local footballers to "stand for their future," and show their displeasure by taking a knee before every game.

Taking the knee is part of a long history of athletes using sport as a platform to draw attention to the racial inequalities that communities of colour experience, usually in white majority countries.

Munetsi this week reiterated his desire to see SRC and Zifa clear their impasse.

"As things stand, we are losing a generation of talented footballers. They are not being exposed to scouting opportunities from abroad as a result and it is Zimbabwe football that will suffer in a few years time, and it is the fans who are being denied a right to watch the game they so dearly love. Once again, I plead with the relevant parties to find a workable solution to this matter so that our beautiful nation gets to enjoy our beautiful game," Munetsi posted on his social media handles over the weekend.

SRC suspended the Zifa board last year on various allegations

Fifa has refused to endorse the suspension, and as a consequence, Zimbabwe was banned from participating in international football.

The Warriors were subsequently booted out of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), the African Nations Championships (Chan) and the Cosafa qualifiers while the Mighty Warriors were also barred from participating in international and continental qualifiers.

Local clubs are bearing the brunt of the Fifa ban too as they are also prohibited from competing in all Caf inter-club competitions including the recently launched African Super League which has a large financial return for sides taking part.

Dynamos, Caps United and Highlanders were set to compete in the annual continental club football competition where they were each supposed to receive a cash injection of US$2,5 million.

SRC has since reinstated some members of the Zifa executive board minus Kamambo and two others.

However, Fifa is adamant that Kamambo and company should be reinstated first for the ban to be lifted, and that it will not recognise the new Zifa board led by Gift Banda.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe
More on: #Zifa, #SRC, #Players