THE National League is being implemented by hook or by crook after the ZIFA AGM which was expected to make a decision on the matter was abruptly put on ice on Wednesday, ostensibly to silence dissenting voices that are opposed to the idea.
Even though the idea of the National League is getting the backing of clubs that intend to take part in it and it is a legislative omission in itself, procedure demands that the issue should be tabled before and ratified by the ZIFA Council at the Annual General Meeting, something that may not happen after the unexpected suspension of the AGM.
In a communique dispatched on Wednesday to all affiliates signed by ZIFA acting general manager, Xolisani Gwesela, the Annual General Meeting which was scheduled for next Sunday has been postponed to a later date.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association would like to inform all ZIFA members that the Annual General Meeting which was scheduled for January 28, 2023 has been postponed to a later date which will be advised in due course. Any inconveniences caused are sincerely regretted,” reads part of the letter.
Gwesela could not be reached for a comment on the suspension of the AGM as his mobile phone went unanswered.
However, clubs have expressed interest in joining the National League — which will be the second tier football league in the country.
In the Eastern Region, Mutare City Rovers, Masvingo United, Chiredzi United and Renco Mine — the teams that finished among the top five last season — are understood to have expressed interest to join the National League.
The National League is a legislative omission which was long factored into the ZIFA constitution under Section 10, but somehow could not be implanted over the years.
And it appears, the ZIFA executive committee is now determined to have it in place, never mind the means!
Be that as it may, issues relating to costs in the absence of sound sponsorship is a major talking point in this rushed implementation of the National League.
Davison Muchena, the ZIFA Eastern Region chairman, concurs.
“The issue now is about resources. There is a difference between the owners or sponsors of the team and the executive committee running the day-to-day affairs of the club.
“My feeling is that it is the owners or sponsor who should be the ones expressing interest. In this case, we have team executive committee chairmen and secretaries accepting that they want to take part in the national league.
“I foresee financial challenges because in my region all the teams expected to participate in the Division One League will tell you that given a chance they want to take part. But my question is, do they have the resources?
“I am talking about teams that have been failing to pay our regional US$800 affiliation fee and now they say they want to be part of a more expensive National League,” he said.
Mutare correctional services side, Tenax CS FC were relegated together with fellow prisons outfit, Hwahwa FC, municipality teams, Bulawayo City and Harare City.
These four clubs are now expected to be part of the inaugural ZIFA National League.
The relegated teams are expected to join the top four teams from the four regions, namely Northern Region, Southern Region, Eastern and Central Region.
ZIFA has since invited the top four teams from each region to be part of the inaugural league in line with Section 10 of the ZIFA constitution.
The new feeder league will provide slots to the top-flight league promotion.