Ellina Mhlanga Harare Bureau
THE Minister of State in the Office of Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, Tabetha Kanengoni-Malinga, says Zifa are sabotaging the Warriors’ 2017 Nations Cup campaign and derailing the government’s efforts to bring sanity into domestic football.
A fierce critic of the Zifa Board, she said the stand-off between the Asssociation and the Warriors, hours before yesterday’s big Nations Cup qualifier at Rufaro, was a case in point.
“I think this has to be a thing of the past. We’re drawing very very close to coming to a solution on this matter,” Kanengoni-Malinga, a former Deputy Sports Minister, told our Harare Bureau
“We’ve our recommendations that’ve come from the SRC (Sport and Recreation Commission) that’ll positively deal with these issues that’ve been happening.
“Zifa can’t continue to hold the guys at ransom. They need to be mentally fit every time they go to play and they need to be mentally fit every time they go to practice.
“They really mustn’t trivialise the work that the government is trying to do in order to bring up football in Zimbabwe.
“And it seems they (Zifa) are acting more as saboteurs than contributing to the positive development of the game, so to me Zifa is sabotaging Zimbabwe football and that has to change forthwith. And I’m sure this change is coming very, very soon.
“I’m definitely working on that. I’m very happy with the report so far. It’ll bring the much needed positive development that we wanted and I’m sure the nation will be very happy with the recommendations that came from the SRC, now is just time to action it.”
Kanengoni-Malinga said yesterday’s events might have affected the team’s performance on the field of play as she noted that there was a lot of talent and experienced players in the Warriors team that played yesterday.
“As an athlete you play a mental game and you play a physical game and today’s action definitely contributed negatively.
“But I think the fans helped them to pick up, you know when the stadium is this full it helps to contribute to a positive development, so Zimbabwe came through today .
“It was a very good game, the support was amazing. The line-up was really good, I think it was a good choice of players. I think we could have done better given the amount of talent we had on the field, we had some experienced players here. Maybe it was preparation, maybe the team hadn’t gelled so well but we’ll take the draw.
“But it would have been better if we had scored more.”
Zifa board member development, John Phiri confirmed that they received money from Walter Magaya while the association contributed $30,000 towards the players allowances but denied that the players were threatening to boycott the game.