Turmoil shadows Zimbabwe soccer Licoln Mutasa

Lovemore Dube, [email protected]

It is now more than 10 months since the Zifa Normalisation Committee (NC) was put into office by international motherbody, Fifa, but the local game is still gasping for fresh air.

After years of decay, lack of leadership and real development on the ground, Zimbabweans celebrated the eventual fall of the Zifa Board led by Felton Kamambo in July last year. The setting up of the NC was the final nail in the coffin.

It signified Fifa’s commitment in ensuring a fresh start to the local game without Kamambo and it was hoped that it was going to even cascade down to councillors who were fingered as the biggest culprits for voting wrong people into office from club level to the Zifa Board.

Licoln Mutasa and his NC were brought in to clean up the game and lay a foundation for future development of the game.Principally they are supposed to run the game up to the end of next month and the understanding is that by then elections would have been held.

It is however less than 40 days before the end of their term and no elections have been held. Zimbabwe finds itself with no national team coach a few weeks before a crucial away-home match against Lesotho at Orlando Stadium in SA on June 5.

Six days later, the Warriors, will face South Africa, who rate among the favourites for the World Cup finals berth from a group that has Lesotho, Rwanda, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe.Already under an adhoc arrangement with the then Highlanders coach, Brito Baltemar, the Warriors drew 1-1 with Rwanda and had a goalless draw against Nigeria.

Both matches were played in Rwanda last year because Zimbabwe does not have a stadium that meets international standards.With no national team coach as of yesterday, just about 13 days before the match, it also casts doubt over the selection of the players.

Whoever takes over in the next fortnight, will not have time to assess the players.Contacted for comment yesterday, Zifa who promised that they would have a national team coach by Saturday, could not give an update on the issue.

Rumours have been awash that there is a 30-member squad that has been chosen ahead of the two matches and excludes Jordan Zemura.

Zemura, last month made public that Norman Mapeza treats players military style and that he would never be part of the set up if the FC Platinum gaffer is in charge. A number of foreign based players are believed to share the same sentiment but are afraid to speak out fearing a backlash.

“We are not aware of any squad being selected and can only give an update once the squad is announced,” said Zifa yesterday morning.

Pressed further on whether it was true that the trio of Lloyd Chitembwe, Saul Chaminuka and Jairos Tapera had been appointed to take charge of the next fixture since a substantive one is yet to be engaged Zifa responded: “The Normalisation Committee is yet to announce the appointment of any coaches, interim or substantive.”

It is interesting that once again Chitembwe who has a ban from travelling to South Africa, after things allegedly went sour between him and Black Leopards some years ago, is being considered.Mutasa a former Dynamos attacking midfielder heads the NC, which has dissolved the women’s soccer league and hand-picked officials to take charge.

They stand accused of being spendthrift following a decision to play Nigeria in Rwanda and Lesotho in South Africa.
To their credit however, they have started the ball rolling with the appointment of a technical director, Jethro Hunidzarira and education officer, Joseph Sibindi.

Whatever the case is, things seem not normal.The national team is a serious business as it is the face of Zimbabwe football. Elections will see football return to the hands of the soccer family hence the need to ensure they are held as soon as possible.


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