JUST when exactly 30 days remain before the calendar changes to 2024, the ZIFA Eastern Region Soccer League has provided what many see as a Joke of the Year, sadly, a joke in bad taste.
On Monday late afternoon, the regional football administration body made public its decision to award Bikita Minerals FC with the much coveted Premiership promotion.
This, after boardroom deliberations on the events that occurred on the final day of the season where the lithium miners complained about the use of an illegible player by Grayham FC — their opponents on the 2023 final round of fixtures.
On Monday late afternoon, ZIFA ERSL vice-chairman, Simba Wisdom told Post Sport that his committee had decided to award Bikita Minerals three points from their season final’s fixture against Grayham FC.
The match had ended in a one-all stalemate.
Without taking anything away from Bikita Minerals, an unknown quantity at the start of the season, a team that was in the bottom four on MatchDay Five of the just-ended season, their promotion via a boardroom decision is surely not what the lithium miners would have preferred, given a choice.
The development left more questions than answers, with several conspiracy theories being raised over the issue.
Why was the ineligible player allowed to play?
Picture English Premier League (EPL) giants, Arsenal complaining about a player being used by Manchester City before, during or even after a league encounter.
Such is the gulf in class of administration between this part of the world and where football is being managed by serious and qualified personnel.
That ZIFA Eastern Region Soccer League had one of their own administrators present during the match pitting Bikita Minerals and Grayham FC also leaves more questions than answers as to why the ZIFA official did not verify the identity and eligibility of the player before kickoff.
If in July Tenax FC complained about the intended use of an illegible players in their encounter against Renco Mine and the issue was resolved before the match, with ZIFA Eastern Region Soccer League officials being phoned and confirming that the three players that Renco Mine FC intended to use were not legible to play, what was different in this case, more so in the latest case where their official was actually on the ground before the match.
It begs the question, if not for plundering allowances, and let each other enjoy the comforts of hotel accommodation, what was the purpose of having that ZIFA Eastern on the ground on this final day of the season?
Is Grayham FC really a serious football team?
Prior to last Saturday’s ZIFA Eastern Region Soccer League meeting and the subsequent decision to promote Bikita Minerals, Grayham owner, Gray Hama, told everyone who cared to listen that the player in question was indeed their player and was properly registered.
Apart from having insisted during the player inspection process that the player in question was properly registered, Hama had the audacity to give a media interview well after the match and said Bikita Minerals were desperate in lodging their complaint.
Surely, Grayham FC administration must have had all the paperwork to prove their case and their failure to do so during the hearing, only smack of a pre-arranged ploy to disadvantage Tenax FC.
Is the ERSL conscience clear?
The latest, in all fairness, put a dent on the credibility of the Eastern Region Soccer League as a football administration body.
How they failed to verify the ineligibility of the player before the match and how they went on to effect their ‘rules’ leaves a lot to be desired to neutrals.
After all is said and done, a precedent has been set.
Going into the future, the Eastern Region Soccer League has set a precedent that winning the championship is, not only done on the field of play, but in the boardroom.
Therefore, those desperate to win the league championship in the Eastern Region can as well burn the midnight candle studying the loopholes in their statues of the league, who knows, even if they end the season on position 10, they may end up being champions of this Mickey mouse league!