ZIFA BOARD APPEAL AGAINST SUSPENSION AND RESUMPTION OF BOARD DUTIES
The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) would like to inform the nation that following the suspension by the Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC) almost two weeks ago, the ZIFA Board after extensive consultations instituted an appeal with the administrative court in line with provision of section 32 of the SRC Act which provides for appeal by an aggrieved part to any decision by the SRC.
The nation and the world must know that this application was informed by the need to utilise available local legal remedies for the prime purpose of clearing the names of the board members which have been unfairly soiled as a result of the suspension which according to the SRC was informed by a litany of allegations chief among them failure to respond to 2019 Afoot’ enquiry letter and abuse of public funds. While ZIFA have repeatedly echoed the fact that these allegations are totally untrue, malicious and devoid of any truth, the decision to take this route was to:
i) Utilise the courts to also determine the correctness or lack thereof of the SRC decision which was arrived at without following any due process as is required by its own Act and laws of natural justice.
ii) Get back in office so as to provide a yawning leadership gap to our national game which was rendered leaderless for two weeks with dire consequences chief among them the recent challenges regarding the under 17 boys and girls camp where those in charge came short with regards to the safety of the players in camp chief among them failure to follow their own set health protocols for protection of athletes before they began camp and such resulted with over 8016 of athletes and officials being infected with covid.
iii) Also worrying is the apparent going off rails of the AFCON preparations at a time where very limited time is left for appointment of coaches. player invitations. camping preparations. fundraising initiatives among other logistical arrangements. The legal effect of the appeal is to among other things immediately suspend the decision by the SRC to suspend the ZIFA board meaning the ZIFA Board is fully back by operation of law pending the finalisation of the matter by the administrative court. The interpretation offered in one of the daily newspaper that such was the wrong procedure is therefore unfounded as any layman can attest just by reading of section 32 of the SRC Act that it is an appealing provision and not a review as was alleged.
ZIFA EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING
Soon after successfully lodging its appeal. the ZIFA Board subsequently met on Thursday the 2″ of December and resolved on the following urgent matters:
1. AFCON 2022 Preparations:
Bringing back AFCON preparations back in track taking cognisance of limited time before January 2022. As such the Board resolved to immediately engage the targeted Coaches and conclude such engagements within two days. Two Board members and the CEO were tasked with this obligation. Immediately after coach appointment. the Coach and members of the technical team together with ZIFA secretariat are tasked with sending player invites. arrange for training camp. friendlies. The Board is also to immediately reengage valued stakeholders regarding its fundraising initiatives to partner the team in its 2022 Cameron AFCON sojourn. The board therefore appeal to all Zimbabweans both natural and juristic to land a hand in facilitating the team participation in this important tournament where only the best of Africa showcase their talent.
2. Writing to SRC
The board also resolved to out of courtesy and respect, officially write to the SRC to formally inform them of the Board resumption of duty after noting of the appeal. It is the Board’s hope that SRC being a creature of statute will respect our own laws and allow football to breathe while engagements with FIFA and court processes are attended to. The Board reiterate and for the good of football its willingness to work with progressive persons, institutions and regulator for the development of our game. The board does not believe that ambushing each other with suspensions in what was supposed to be a cordial meeting is the way to go for our beautiful country. Further, the board will also seek and remind the SRC for their approval of the Warriors to participate in the AFCON 2022 as is required.
3. ZIFA 2021 AGM:
The board resolved that the annual ZIFA Annual general meeting be held on Thursday the 30′ of December 2021. Accordingly, the President’s activity reports, audited financial statements and 2022 proposed budget will soon be circulated to council. The invitations to the AGM shall as per procedure also be extended to the SRC.
4. Re-engagement of Khama Billiat:
The board reiterated its commitment as was resolved in its Board meeting on 15 November for two Board Members and National Team Manager to be deployed to engage this Warrior for a possible change of heart regarding coming out of retirement for 2022 APCON tournament. It is the desire of the Board that the hest of the Warriors be in Cameron for the tournament and the presence of Khania will in no doubt add firepower in the team. The Board also appeal to our media to support the current crop of our dedicated players who have selflessly given everything to their nation. unwarranted criticism on this group which have done so much for their country in difficult circumstances may be unwarranted and scare away players from national duty. We hope the Warrior will heed the call of the Board and his fellow countrymen and reconsider.
5. Engagements with FIFA
ZIFA wishes to inform the nation that engagements with FIFA have always been a continuous process. The Board is happy that FIFA are also in discussions with the SRC with regards the real reasons for the suspensions and proof of the alleged transgressions. The Board is confident that these engagements will be truthful. factual and objective. ZIFA remain guided by FIFA on the next course of action.
6. Covid 4th wave:
The Board also discussed the 4th wave of covid-19 and the disturbances such may cause to football. The Board, therefore, encourages its affiliates most who have already resumed or are at advanced stages of starting football competitions to be on guard and follow government protocols with regards to COVID. The last thing that football needs is another freeze of sporting activities which normally have negative effects on the performances of our national teams.
7. Junior football:
The Board resolved that all junior leagues will for the first time in more than 15 years kick off early 2022 in all the 10 provinces of the country where a total of 200 boys’ teams and 160 girls’ teams (under IS and under 17) will be playing football week in week out under assistance from the Mother Body. The nation must know that contrary to some allegations of doing nothing for junior football revival, this board has done so much such that had it not been of covid. these leagues should have started in 2020. Equipment which includes full soccer kits and balls was procured and is stored at Z1FA for distribution early next year.
8. Rural grassroots constituency leagues:
The Board resolved to continue with the formation of rural grassroot leagues where these are set up and equipped with balls and uniforms to play organised football all year round under the auspices of ZIFA. Before its suspension. the Board had already been to Chipinge Musikavanhu. Zvishavane. Gutu South. Mutasa, Chimanimani. Murehwa and was to launch in Insiza North and Matebeleland North and other targeted pilot rural constituencies in other provinces. This is testimony that the current ZIFA Board sees and appreciate the need to have football played in every corner of the country so as to identify and nature talent.
9. Acquisition of two new conventional buses and one new Minivan:
The board wishes to inform the Nation that they acquired two buses before the suspension and these are due for delivery in the next two weeks. These assets will help in local National team travel and save the association from hiring out for these services.
Finally, the board wish to thank all valued stakeholders who were affected by the suspension. As we move to normalise operations at ZIFA. we appeal for your patience so we can re-stabilise the association. We thank the employees and service providers who just woke up to find a leaderless association and apologise for the confusion and inconveniences such may have caused. We thank all those who have stood by the board. who have remained objective and truth-seeking and promise that we will never renege on our mandate for as long as we are still in office. We also invite anyone who want evidence as regards our rebuttal of the several allegations levelled against us to approach our lawyers for such documentary proof. The board has authorised the release of such information to anyone who wants it so the public and all interested stakeholders can know the truth. The days of being given half-backed information are over and we urge anyone including Base who are so convinced that the board did commit the transgressions to get this information from the said lawyers.
The Board encourages everyone to work for the development of the game and not pursue unfruitful persecution of office bearers even in instances where they would done nothing wrong. The Board believes it has outperformed all ZIFA boards that have existed for the past 3 decades on both governance and the field of play and challenges anyone with different evidence to prove that much. The overdraft misleading articles have sought to misinform the Nation on the real factual undisputed statistics which can be proved. The liming therefore of the board suspension on the eve of an important tournament where all other nations are desperate to go too less than a year before ZIFA elections should raise eyebrows as to the real intention of such an act. The sentiments that are being said by a few that they would rather have the country banned from global football cannot be the feeling of the majority but a few who have abrogated to themselves to being spokesperson of the naves whom we know are against any decision to disrupt football.
We urge every stakeholder to demand proof from our accusers of proof of the transgressions just as they demand proof front ZIFA through their lawyers of the board’s innocence in all the allegations. Let’s not mudsling and attack the integrity of each other without any basis. The ZIFA board like any Zimbabwean also loves this country. it is the only place we can call home just they love their National Teams for they are our soul and heartbeat. We urge for unity of purpose and demand of accountability even to those who make decisions they should be held to account and justify with evidence their actions and decisions. failure of which they ought to labelled as anti-football.
BY ORDER IV THE ZIFA BOARD
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