HomeSportInside sport: Is Zimbabwe safe from Fifa?

Inside sport: Is Zimbabwe safe from Fifa?

BY MICHAEL KARIATI

The silence from Fifa on the events that are unfolding in Zimbabwean football should be a warning for the country to prepare fully for the worst.

The Sports and Recreation Commission took Felton Kamambo and his Zifa board to court where they were ordered not to have anything to do with the football mother body or visit its offices until their case was over.

In short, this means Kamambo and his board have been thrown out of football administration until such a time when the court finalises their case for allegedly representing Zifa after they were suspended by the SRC.

Those running the show should not mistake the Fifa silence on this matter as admission by Fifa that Felton Kamambo and his board are gone, but instead, Zimbabwe are sitting on a time bomb that can explode anytime.

Fifa as big as they are, do not make rushed decisions. It would be a mistake to believe that they are not following the political game of chess that is being played in the Zimbabwean game of football.

The Kamambo board has been asked by the courts not to communicate with Fifa in any way, but the truth is that even without that communication, Fifa are fully aware of the football situation in Zimbabwe.

It would also be wrong not to believe that Fifa feel belittled by the refusal by the Sports and Recreation Commission to reinstate Kamambo and partners by the deadline of January 3.

More importantly is the fact that the SRC has taken the route of the courts to get rid of a Zifa board that Fifa still recognises as the bona-fide leaders of Zimbabwean football.

On this understanding, it would be safe to say that the SRC is playing more into Fifa’s hands as Fifa are clear that they do not entertain football matters being settled in the courts of law.

Moreso, is the fact that Kamambo and friends were arrested and brought to court following a complaint by the SRC — a government arm — and for that matter — over football matters, something which Fifa will certainly interpret as  government interference.

In as much as some sections of the Zimbabwe football family would like to celebrate what they see as victory over Kamambo, the truth is that the war is still on, until Fifa says it is over.

What Zimbabweans are also underestimating are the effects of the ban. Whether it is for one, two or three years, Zimbabwe will still be stuck with Kamambo when that ban is finally lifted.

The fact remains that after the ban, Kamambo could still claim leadership of Zimbabwean football because the country would have been banned before his term expired and he will have the backing of Fifa on that stance.

Even now, should Fifa insist on the reinstatement of Kamambo — coupled with the relaxation of conditions by the courts — the Kamambo board could also claim office for the extra months they were on suspension by the SRC.

It would have been advisable if not wise for the SRC to have waited until after April 3, the day Fifa gave Zimbabwean football the freedom to assemble and constitutionally decide on the future of Kamambo without any rebounds.

Instead of taking that easy Fifa route, the SRC decided to take the risky path of the courts which Fifa have always been against.

That route the SRC took seems not to have been the best of roads to take and Zimbabwe should put itself on alert for possible repercussions from Fifa to come.

Fifa’s silence does not mean that they have accepted what is happening in Zimbabwe, and the hope is that they won’t be very strong handed to a country that has never qualified for the World Cup or worse still reached the second round of Afcon.

Instead of the celebrations that are going on, right now, the Zimbabwe football family should be asking itself whether the country is safe from Fifa sanctions in the wake of the developments that have taken place before and after January 3.

History has shown that Fifa are very patient and unpredictable in nature and it would be foolish to believe that after taking part at Afcon 2021, Zimbabwe has escaped punishment from the international football controlling body.

It happened in Nigeria, Chad, Kuwait, and Pakistan, and the question is : Is Zimbabwe safe from these Fifa sanctions after all that has happened ? – We wait as the developments unfold.

  • For your comments, views, and suggestions, mkariati@gmail.com or WhatsApp on 0773 266 779.

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