Zifa has criticised South African premier league side Mamelodi Sundowns for attacking Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare in the media. The South African side, were unhappy that Mpandare has suggested that the club was unwilling to release Billiat for national duty. The Warriors will be playing a 2019 AFCON qualifier against Liberia at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday. Sundowns manager Peter Ndlovu and Billiat had to fly into the country so that Warriors’ medical staff could assess Billiat.
Said Zifa in a statement:
ZIFA has noted with concern, distasteful sentiments expressed by Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club officials towards our senior national manager, Wellington Mpandare.
Mpandare conducted his duties in a professional manner in the process of requesting for the release of Khama Billiat to report for assessment by the national team’s medical team; therefore, we feel that denigrating comments made were unwarranted,” read part of the statement from ZIFA.
As ZIFA we are fully confident of our team manager’s ability to execute his duties in a manner that ensures that relations between ZIFA and Mamelodi Sundowns remain cordial.
As an association, we believe our team manager acted within the dictates of Fifa regulations in seeking the release of Khama Billiat for national duty and assessment by our medical team to determine the extent of his ankle injury.
ZIFA has great respect for the Mamelodi Sundowns president, Patrice Motsepe, his executive and club management, but we believe the vitriolic attacks on Mpandare were unnecessary, and they only engender disunity and unwanted hatred within the football family.
ZIFA also takes this opportunity to remind Mamelodi Sundowns that all official correspondence between them and the association is generated from the office, hence, they should not regard allegations from the media fraternity as ZIFA’s official position in any matter.
Any displeasure from the Sundowns camp over the conduct of ZIFA officials is accepted but it should be delivered through the proper channels.
It is our ultimate goal to promote the spirit of unity and friendship that FIFA seeks to inculcate in the relationship between clubs and football associations, as well as with all stakeholders.
Our relationship with Mamelodi Sundowns is mutually beneficial for both parties and it has been there for a long time, it is our keen desire to see it continue to flourish, for the benefit of both Zimbabwean and South African football.