Dingilizwe Ntuli Sports Editor
WITH just under two weeks left for the 2016 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League to start, the chaos that mired previous Zifa administrations seems to be on the rebound with the present board failing to put key committees into place to strengthen the running of the game.
The Zifa board voted into office on December 5, 2015, was full of promise when it started work and was widely hailed for promising to develop a culture free of poor administration, corruption, vested interests and historic loyalties.
However, implementation of these noble ideas has been dangerously exposed by some ruinous decision-making whose impact is likely to be felt a few games into the new PSL season.
They have been making bizarre and unpredictable decisions since taking office, such as the president Philip Chiyangwa going on leave soon after being elected. As if that was not strange enough, Warriors’ coach Callisto Pasuwa and his entire technical team were fired only to be reinstated 48 hours later by Chiyangwa claiming he had not been consulted.
Chiyangwa then dissolved all Zifa subcommittees that assist the executive in the smooth running of the game and only named heads of the committees, saying members would be appointed in due course. It is now more than three months and still no people have been appointed into any committee. Board members alone cannot run football effectively and the continued absence of these sub-committees is a recipe for disaster.
Zifa is now consumed by the match-fixing scandal that allegedly involves one of its own board members Edzai Kasinauyo, former chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya, who has admitted involvement, sacked Warriors’ assistant coach Nation Dube as well as former Warriors’ coach Ian Gorowa and some South Africa-based Zimbabwe players.
Because of the absence of sub-committees, everything at Zifa is being handled from the office of the president and if he doesn’t act, it looks like nothing happens at Zifa House. While we appreciate his hands-on approach, his reluctance to delegate and seeming failure to consult will soon haunt the association.
Stadia remain uninspected while the league starts on April 2. But the biggest worry is the issue of referees. Referees must be regularly tested on a series of timed runs to meet a strict criteria and starting the new season with some referees that previously struggled to hit the fitness mark is worrisome. Referees should have been tested by now and the 2016 PSL panel announced.
We cannot have a single person or the Zifa executive selecting match officials as this will foment corruption and dig football into a deeper match-fixing scandal.
The Zifa board must establish a clear path it wants to follow and appoint suitably qualified people to implement their plans instead of plunging the game into chaos by wanting to do everything on their own, and worse still delaying in the process.
Where is the Zifa Council in all this? Have the councillors suddenly forgotten why they are in their positions? Only proper football structures will improve our game and not endless meetings and statements.
The Zifa board has been meeting almost every two weeks, but members seem to overlook important issues that will help move our game forward.
The match-fixing scandal cannot be the sole focus of Zifa, football still needs to be played in the midst of the scam and if this board cannot find a way of balancing issues, our football will continue to suffer.