Statement by the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) about a story published by The Herald on 1 June 2021.
The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) would like to set the record straight on the falsehoods peddled in the story titled ‘ZIFA turn down Mambas invitation’ published in The Herald on 1 June 2021 and written by their Senior reporter Eddie Chikamhi.
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ZIFA did not receive an invitation from our colleagues at the Mozambican Football Federation for a friendly match.
Consequently, the letter that was cited verbatim in the story is a fictitious newsroom creation that casts a huge shadow on the credibility of The Herald as a reliable publicly owned newspaper.
We have also confirmed with Mozambique Football Federation Chief Executive Officer Hilario Madeira about the authenticity of the letter and he indicated that the letter is fake and it was never generated from their Federation.
We have requested the said letter from the Herald and the letter does not bear any signature, neither is it clearly addressed to the General Secretary. The crest on the MFF letterhead is also not correct.
The Herald Sports under Robson Sharuko has turned itself into a newspaper bent on propagating falsehoods and displaying dangerous agenda setting tendencies.
We are flabbergasted that such an experienced editor would publish fake stories without making an effort to verify with the Association.
The Herald has published a number of fake stories about ZIFA in recent months. In March, the paper lied that the Warriors had travelled to Botswana for an AFCON qualifier match by road while the team had actually flown to Francistown.
While we are an organisation open to constructive criticism, we cannot ignore deliberate efforts by individuals bent on jeopardising every good deed that ZIFA does.
The Herald’s false story not only tarnish the image of ZIFA, but that of our friends at Mozambique Football Federation with whom we have cordial relations.
The story also messes with bilateral relations between the governments of Zimbabwe and Mozambique because football is an important sport and social vehicle in both countries.
In these trying times, football and Zimbabwe can benefit a lot from the unity of purpose of all parties involved.
ZIFA continues to encourage all media practitioners to solicit for ZIFA’s comments to avoid publishing falsehoods.
In this case, it was also important for the writer, and their editor to also hear from both ZIFA and MFF.
We are merely a football development institution and that remains our chief priority, but we have to expose damaging misrepresentations from the media.
In this scenario, The Herald has not performed its informing role because it has misinformed the people of Zimbabwe who love and support the Warriors…