BY MICHAEL KARIATI
FORGET about the two-week ultimatum from the Confederation of African Football. The truth is that Afcon 2023 is all but gone for Zimbabwe.
There is no way with the limited time available that both Kenya and Zimbabwe will be able to sort out their football problems in time for the April 19, Afcon 2023 draw.
The problem is that Caf seems unaware of the enormity of the problems in Zimbabwean football forgetting that the issue of football is also in the courts of law with a lot of strings attached to it.
Even writing a letter to Zimbabwe regarding the Afcon 2023 demands was a waste of time as the crisis in the Zimbabwean game will not be resolved so easily and overnight.
The problem is that the bulls in the football boxing ring will not and are not prepared to put their gloves on the table unless something bigger than the international football ban happens.
As things stand right now, Zimbabwe has not moved a foot forward since that February 24 day when Fifa threw the country out of international football and chances are that it will remain so for some time to come.
More so that Fifa have closed the door on Zimbabwe until their demands for the reinstatement of Felton Kamambo is met, something that the SRC has refused to accept.
The SRC has put in place a restructuring committee headed by Blessing Rugara which on its part has also not moved an inch since it was appointed on December 17, 2021.
What is disturbing is that in all this, the sports minister Kirsty Coventry has remained mum as if nothing so serious is happening to Zimbabwe’s most followed sport.
Where is the sports minister as the crisis continues to unfold? Where was she when Fifa threatened to ban Zimbabwe before they finally took action?
Isn’t she there to try and resolve such big issues when they arise in Zimbabwe sport? Is this SRC and Zifa fight too big for her that she is afraid if not scared of having her own hands burnt?
The situation could not have reached this level had the minister herself earlier called for a round table discussion involving herself, the SRC and Kamambo and Friends.
Somebody who sits on the board of the International Olympic Committee like herself could have done it better or known better to solve such a debacle.
Whatever it is, the minister should show her powers by getting involved in solving such problems before even bigger problems of the same nature emerge in other sporting disciplines.
What has happened has happened and now is the time to correct the wrong things done in the past and convince Fifa to reinstate Zimbabwe back into the international fold.
Maybe Coventry could help in determining whether reinstating Kamambo is the immediate solution to this crisis or if there is a way out of it without bringing Kamambo back.
There is also a need to know how long Zimbabwe will stay banned as long as Kamambo is not brought back and whether this demand will one day expire.
Zimbabwe also needs to know whether after one or two years on the wayside Fifa will not insist on this Kamambo reinstatement after the restructuring process has been done.
Surely Afcon 2023 is gone but we cannot continue risking losing more of our football benefits because of an issue we could have easily resolved or we can still solve.
The question is: Will Zimbabwe lose more than it stands to gain by giving in to Fifa’s demands and giving Kamambo the remaining short part of his reign?
This is the issue that Coventry, the SRC, the football family, and Zimbabwe at large, need to seriously look at…
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