Members of Parliament have urged the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) to reinstate the suspended ZIFA board for the sake of footballers’ careers.
FIFA suspended Zimbabwe from international football after the SRC had dissolved the Felton Kamambo-led ZIFA board on 16 November 2021 on allegations of misuse of public funds, sexual harassment of female referees and incompetence among other issues.
The SRC has since appointed a restructuring committee that will run football matters in the country until fresh ZIFA elections are held.
The SRC board appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Sport on Thursday where legislators asked why the SRC could not wait for ZIFA board members to be voted out in elections set for December.
SRC chairperson Gerald Mlotshwa explained to the MPs why the ZIFA board was suspended and also outlined the way forward. On the issue of sexual allegations against members of the ZIFA Board, Mlotshwa said:
Initially, we had three complaints of sexual harassment but investigations revealed that sexual harassment was insidious. There was sex for games. Sleep with me and I will give you a game.
The MPs generally seemed to appreciate the issues that were raised by the SRC that led to the suspension of the ZIFA board, but said the country will suffer as a result of the ban.
Former ZIFA boss, Omega Sibanda complained that the FIFA ban closes opportunities for Zimbabwean players. He said:
For the period that this process is going to be taking place, our players will not be able to move internationally. They cannot transfer from one country to another.
Tino Kadewere, who was supposed to move, will not be able to do that for as long as the ban is in effect.
Our players will suffer, let’s look at the welfare and careers of the players.
Mlotshwa insisted that the suspension of the ZIFA board and the SRC’s refusal to give in to FIFA’s demands to reinstate the board was for the good of local football. He said:
Let’s not focus on what FIFA will say. What we are trying to do is for the future of football in this country. We cannot continue postponing the process.