BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
ACTING Zifa president Gift Banda reckons the world football body Fifa will eventually have to engage the current board to map a way forward for the local game.
Zimbabwe is currently suspended from Fifa membership for what the world football governing body defined as third-party interference in the running of the game in the country.
This was after the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) suspended the Zifa board led by Felton Kamambo over a myriad of transgressions, in a bid to save the local game.
And on April 23, Zifa councillors revoked the mandate of Kamambo, Philemon Machana and Brighton Malandule and brought back Banda, the elected vice-president who had been suspended barely a month after coming into office in 2018.
Three weeks ago the SRC reinstated the Banda-led board, which has already made overtures to Fifa to have the ban on Zimbabwe lifted.
“We cannot be banned forever and we are positive that Fifa will have to listen to us and lift the suspension. We have already written to them and we are awaiting their response,” Banda told StandardSport in an interview yesterday.
“I think Fifa must not prescribe what is good for us, but we are in a better position to know what is best as Zimbabweans.
“The fact that Fifa gave conditions, which include the reinstatement of the Kamambo led board, in order to lift the ban has been overtaken by events.
“Some of those individuals’ mandates were revoked by over 42 people in the Zifa council and if they are reinstated who are they going to work with when they are no longer wanted?” Banda said.
StandardSport wrote to Fifa to enquire whether they have received any communication of the developments in Zimbabwe football last week, but the football body had not responded by the time of going to the press.
Some of the individuals who were ousted from the Zifa board at the April 23 extra ordinary general meeting, who sought the Fifa ban reportedly vowed that the international body will not engage the Banda-led executive.
However, Banda believes that the Zifa board is not for an individual or individuals but a collective.
Instead, Banda feels Kamambo is responsible for the prevailing situation in local football because of the way they handled the initial suspension by the SRC.
“We must first ask about the things that led to us being banned and you will realise that it was because of certain transgressions and some of them were pertinent. I think there was no transparency in the way we handled our funds, among many other things,” he said.
“This ban was decided by the SRC well before November 2021 and if we had sat down with the SRC and argued our case from the onset we would have possibly avoided the ban. But when we disregard authority, this is the outcome,” he said.
According to Banda, there is a lot that is wrong with Zimbabwean football and now is the time for everyone to pull together for the sake of football.
“This is not about Machana, Kamambo, Malandule it’s about football. I cannot say I will not be on the next Zifa board, but in my short period, I want to put structures for the development of our football. Let’s do something for football together
“Any person, who is coming up with an idea we are here to listen because there are a lot of things fundamentally wrong with our football for example there is no representative for junior football in Zifa. Junior football doesn’t have a voice in this country.
“There is a lot of potential for Zimbabwe football but we are a country yearning for leadership. It is as if we only waiting for the national team to play but what about the age group teams? Development of junior football is suffering.
“If Fifa was to lift the ban today where are we going to play football when we do not have a single stadium fit to host international matches.
“We certainly need to organise ourselves for the good of our football. Other countries have built state of art stadia with money from Fifa why are we not able to get money from the football body to build our facilities” Banda said.