ZIFA Council In Hot Debate

HARARE – The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) Council meets for the first time this year on Friday faced with the burning issue of the creation of a fourth first division league.\r\n

The southern region is pressing its demands for the formation of another first division league in the Midlands in order to strike a balance with what they allege has been an unfair advantage to the northern region.

The issue comes barely a year before the ZIFA board elections and the final outcome will play a significant role on who will be voted into office come the next ZIFA Council AGM next year.

The bone of contention is that the creation of the eastern region benefitted the northern region and in particular Harare for most of the clubs from Chitungwiza use the eastern region to gain promotion into the Premiership and then relocate to Harare.The Eastern region stretches from Chitungwiza up to Manicaland.

So, in short, the southern region are saying the northern region have two slots in the Premiership while the southern have won, and so they want the Midlands division for them to also have two slots.

ZIFA vice chairman Tendai Madzorera said this was a hot potato that needed to be debated wisely for it would devide the Zifa Council if the wrong decision was taken. "This issue has been there for some time. I think, it has to be resolved once and for all," said Madzorera.

Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Soccer Coaches Association has set up a five member technical team to oversee the appointment of national team coaches.The team will be headed by ZIFA technical director Nelson Matongorere and includes Sunday Chidzambwa, Gibson Homela, Francis Zimunya, and Benedict Moyo.Ironically Moyo was disqualified from contesting the ZSCA chairmanship post on the basis that FIFA had not cleared him from a FIFA ban imposed on him in 2004.

More importantly, Chidzambwa is currently employed as coach of the Zimbabwe senior team-the Warriors. Matongorere is representing ZIFA in the technical team.

The technical team’s responsibility would be to recommend coaches for all national teams from the Warriors down to the Under 17.In the past, ZIFA appointed national team coaches without consulting but new ZSCA chairman Bekimpilo Nyoni said they have had a discussion with ZIFA and the national federation has agreed to the ZSCA proposal to take over appointment.

The Warriors 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifiers begin in September next year, the same time the qualifiers for the 2011 All Africa Games and the Under 17’s 2011 African Youth Championship matches begin.

In another development, the long awaited 2009 Nestle Charity Shield will now kick off on May 10 with the final set for June 7.

The contest was initially planned to be played in February before the start of the season but this was not to be as the sponsors Nestle had not financially committed themselves towards bankrolling the tournament.

However, Premier Soccer League fixtures secretary Godfrey Japajapa revealed that the sponsorship package would be unveiled on May 7 with the tournament kicking off three days later.

The contest would have four teams, Monomotapa, CAPS United, Dynamos and Njube Sundowns and the draw would be conducted on the day of the launch.

Traditionally the competition is contested for by the winners of the league championship, in this case Monomotapa and the FA Cup winners, CAPS United but the sponsors decided to expand the contest to four teams which saw Dynamos and Sundowns being brought in on the strength of their second and third finishes in the 2008 league programme.

However, observers view the new format as a way of trying to accommodate Dynamos because of the team’s massive popularity for the sponsors to get their mileage.

Dynamos are the defending champions after beating Highlanders in Bulawayo last year.

The Nestle Charity Shield and the ABC Super Eight are the only tournaments left in Zimbabwean football following the demise of the CBZ Cup of the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe withdrew their sponsorship and the Zifa Cup has disappeared without trace once again following the loss of sponsorship.