Moffat Mungazi’s FOOTY FOOTNOTES
HARDLY a month after assuming duty at the highest football office in the land, the Zifa board has come under severe scrutiny as its probity and well-meaningness gets tested following the suspension of the association’s vice president Gift Banda after he “illegally and unilaterally without the authority of the Board, unconstitutionally usurped the powers of the Executive Committee . . . to fire coaches and made new appointments [to the National Team] . . .” (as per the charge sheet).
Subsequently, serious fissures are already emerging as the organisation handles this hot potato; with Zifa boss Felton Kamambo vowing to prudently uphold professionalism and dutifully obey constitutionalism that spares no sacred cows.
The banished Banda, meanwhile, has vowed not to go down easily as he firefights to clear his name while also battling to protect his dignity and reputation. As such, things are not looking up at 53 Livingstone Avenue as the association’s second-in-command fired from the hip; giving his side of the story in a press statement to journalists in Bulawayo last Thursday where he was unequivocally vocal about “role conflict and confusion” as he cited alleged anomalies and malpractices at Zifa.
Evidently, this was a thinly veiled acknowledgement that a plethora of challenges are already plaguing the beleaguered association.
But how did we get here in the first place?
Loads of questions, naturally, beg answers: whose agenda is Banda pushing; which master is he serving; what interests is he advancing; where does that take and leave our game?
Are deep-seated divisions already developing at Zifa? Is the association’s hierarchy pulling in the same direction?
What is worryingly disturbing is that this is all coming on the eve of our sink-or-swim 2019 Afcon qualifiers clash against Congo Brazzaville that we are now playing house with the foundation that we have built thus far. Should things go otherwise and we falter at this last hurdle for qualification, will all those involved in this farce own up or we will be treated to another sideshow where accusations will be traded?
Will the concerted efforts to lure and convince several talents dotted across Europe to turn out for the Warriors be fruitful as we grapple with these embarrassing gaffes on show? On the whole, will these shenanigans not distract the national squad?
With the Cosafa show coming to these shores, will the Zifa circus not derail our plans and preparations?
Whither our game?
Admittedly, these may be teething problems for the new administration at the football mother body and how they will successfully deal with these problems besetting them shall be crucial in restoring our confidence in them as the custodians of our national game. Tellingly, the Zifa job is a mammoth one compared to the previous roles in other capacities where Kamambo, Banda and the rest of the Zifa board were involved in the game before. Needless to say, they have not put their best forward in their tenure hitherto.
Of course, against this background, the late music icon and national hero Dr Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi’s (MHDSRIEP) songs resonate with plenty of meaning and relevance; in one of which hits he decries mikono inorarama neraki. We abhor leaders with such a propensity to be in charge of our national game. The success of the reign of those in the corridors of power at 53 Livingstone Avenue has to derive from what they make it – they simply have to take our football in the right direction, again to borrow Dr Tuku’s wise words. Football has had challenges since Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest footballer of our generation, was still battling stunted hormonal growth as a young boy. The game has had challenges since Cristiano Ronaldo, today’s global mega superstar of football, was still in his diapers. Thus it is how Zifa will emerge from this debacle that will effectively define the course they will chart in taking our game forward.
But on the eve of the association’s elections last December we, here at Footy Footnotes, implored the contestants to allow football to be the biggest winner by sharing the cheer if we cared about the game in the spirit of the rallying point of these installments.
Having felt the heat already, can Felton Kamambo, as his name alludes to, be that king that keeps the Zifa kingdom united and focused on its mandate?
Meanwhile, we wait and watch to see how the drama will unfold and end.
If it is about football that you care let’s share the cheer because we are made for the game, mad about the game!
Paul Pogba is a world football star with tinted hairstyles that many young people in Beitbridge emulate him by imitating his persona, yet these youths miss out on one thing – they cannot play soccer like him. While competing to be like Pogba, these youngsters get down to anything, including the unlawful and insane, just to draw attention. As such, sportspersons and musicians alike should not underestimate the influence they have on our kids as role models and must send positive messages to the youths through deeds and words. – Richard Mahuhushe Chauke.