Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
ALMOST three weeks after ruling in favour of Zifa in its condonation application for the appeal against the reinstatement of vice-president Gift Banda, the Appeals Committee is yet to set a date for the hearing amid fears that the delays are a deliberate ploy to keep the Bulawayo businessman and politician out of the game for as long as possible.
The long and unnecessary bickering has been condemned by almost all people that want to see sanity prevailing in the local game.
It also makes a mockery of Zifa president Felton Kamambo’s promise upon assuming the association’s presidency that victimisation and suspensions under his leadership would not be tolerated.
Last week former Warriors’ skipper Benjan Mwaruwari also added his voice to the growing list of discontented voices on the impasse and challenged the feuding parties to find each other.
The former Manchester City and Portsmouth striker said the squabbles were detrimental to local football.
He said it had dragged on for too long and it was unfortunate that Zifa seemed determined to keep Banda out of the local game instead of resolving issues he raised.
“Banda has been shut out for close to two years which has got some of us, football fans, national team players and officials more confused. As a family you cannot go to the field and have one planting orange seeds and the other plating maize seeds and expect to have the same harvest. We are heading for Zifa elections soon and there is nothing they have collectively done for the country,” said Mwaruwari.
Some observers and councillors have blamed the anti-development squabbles on one member of the Zifa executive committee and challenged Kamambo to whip him into line, accusing him of being the toxic figure in Zimbabwean football.
Some observers said it was strange that the Stead Kachere-led Zifa Appeals Committee has not set a date for the hearing to put the matter to bed.
They fear the whole aim is probably to keep Banda, who has consistently maintained his innocence, out of the game.
Banda, just like another expelled executive committee member Chamu Chiwanza, believes he is being persecuted for his stance on calling for a forensic audit of Zifa accounts.
“It’s strange why we still do not have a date for the hearing. They passed a judgement in Zifa’s favour on July 10 if I am not mistaken and now it’s three weeks down the line. Sometimes we honestly need to take a serious introspection of some of these things because it’s no longer about football, but mere personality clashes, which unfortunately hurt our game,” said an observer.
Kachere, however, said delays in coming up with a hearing date was because Banda’s legal team was not available at the time they wanted to set a date.
“The last time we suggested a date, Banda’s lawyer was not available so we are still awaiting for a mutually agreed date,” said Kachere.