THE Zifa constitutional review process was revived this week after being put on ice last year following the outbreak of Covid-19 that paralysed the entire world.
Zifa’s statutes were last reviewed in 2013 and they’re now outdated considering numerous changes to the game in the past eight years.
The Zifa constitution is also not aligned to the Caf and Fifa constitutions and part of the review process is aimed at addressing that anomaly.
Since announcing the resumption of the process, Zifa dispatched questionnaires to all football stakeholders for their input on how they want football to be run in the country.
A number of people have repeatedly complained about how football is being run in Zimbabwe, while others, especially former players, are bitter that they are confined to the wilderness once they hang their boots despite loyally serving the game as main actors during their playing days.
A constitution is a written instrument embodying the rules of a political or social organisation and the Zifa review process provides a magnificent opportunity for all voices to be heard, and to right the wrongs of our football.
Our game is lagging behind other countries in the region, while those charged with managing the administration side continue to hold onto an outdated constitution.
For example, if the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (Fuz) propose an amendment to Article 10 and it succeeds, the players’ trade union will automatically become a full member of Zifa and therefore be able to send delegates to the Zifa Assembly, the highest decision-making body of the association.
Once in there, Fuz can then push for player-sensitive proposals instead of the present situation whereby they are a mere pressure group with no constitutional voice to make any difference at Zifa and in the Premier Soccer League.
There’s also a shameless case of conflict of interest that has dogged Zimbabwe football for far too long.
The Zifa executive committee chooses one of its members to lead a crucial technical sub-committee like the Zimbabwe Referees Committee? And in addition, Zifa Assembly members are given match commissioner appointments in a clear case of conflict of interest.
It’s good that Zifa is telling us that the constitution must be aligned to the Fifa and Caf charter to root out the arrogance and crooked practices currently being practised by the local game’s administrators.
The Fifa Referees Committee is chaired by a refereeing icon, Pierluigi Collina, an Italian.
But Collina is not in the 37-member Fifa Council headed by its president Gianni Infantino unlike at Zifa whereby an executive committee member chairs the referees body and also assigns himself match commissioner duties.
Hopefully, the stakeholders will demand that a clause be inserted in the amended statute baring members of the Zifa Assembly from sitting in the referees’ committee, particularly the chairperson. Our football has been mired in unending controversies due to these erroneous appointments.
The current review process provides the football family with a wonderful chance to clean our football, shape the future of our football and bring our game back to life again.
Meanwhile, Zifa Southern Region affiliates will gather for their annual general meeting in Bulawayo this morning.
First Division clubs, Zifa Bulawayo and Matabeleland North Provinces, who are in charge of lower leagues, are among the affiliates that will attend the meeting, which will discuss the return of the lower tier activities. Andrew Tapela, Zifa Southern Region chairman, will brief affiliates about progress made in their quest to start their competitions following a meeting that the country’s four regions held in Kwekwe last month.
“The meeting is on and we expect all the affiliates to attend. We will apprise affiliates on demands and expectations for football return in as far as Covid-19 standard operation procedures are concerned. We will also address the affiliation structure, brief them on what we have for them as a region and what Zifa national has for them.
“Critical to note is that we have to address the state of preparedness for the teams, what is expected of teams like training of Covid-19 compliance officers as well as facilities that teams will use. The stadia that teams will register have to meet required expectations in as far as meeting Covid-19 protocols. We don’t want a situation where we are given the green light to start activities and clubs are not ready,” said Tapela.
When the four regions, Eastern, Central, Northern and Southern, which oversee Division One and Division Two leagues, met in Kwekwe last month, they agreed to start games on June 12.
Already, regions are behind schedule in terms of the working document that they agreed to at the Kwekwe Indaba.
The regions wanted the appointment of Covid-19 compliance officers for clubs to be done by April 25 and their training by the Zifa medical committee to be held between April 26-30.
It is at today’s meeting where the region will avail rules and regulations that will guide clubs for the 2020 season.
Regions also agreed that player registration would run throughout this month.
Covid-19 testing of players, technical teams and support staff was supposed to have been done last Monday, with the mother body meeting costs.
However, some clubs ended up paying for their Covid-19 tests, as Zifa was moving at a snail’s pace.
Some clubs like Talen Vision’s players were vaccinated during the week.