Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
A ZIFA board member has described the country’s blundering football leadership as a joke and warned that time was running out of them, before they are shamed publicly, for failing to discharge their mandate of leading the national game. This followed a decision by under-fire chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze, to flex his muscles and buy more time at the association by cancelling a ZIFA board meeting, which had been scheduled for Harare today, to discuss the crisis gripping the game.
Amid all this boardroom chaos, Zimbabwe international striker, Tendai Ndoro, boldly cried out loudly for his Warriors, the only Southern African national football team inactive during this FIFA International Friendly Week.
Ndoro, who plays for South African side Mpumalanga Black Aces, took to Facebook to pour out his frustrations that the Warriors — the only Southern African team inactive during the current matches — had missed another chance to prepare themselves by not utilising the calendar.
“It hurts to see your teammates going to camp for their national teams and play international games,” Ndoro posted on Facebook.
Of the 14 Cosafa teams, only the Warriors are not playing an friendly international during this FIFA International Friendlies Week, despite the false signals from ZIFA that they are building a team, and even little Mauritius decided they needed to play TWO games.
Comoros, Seychelles, Lesotho and Swaziland have all lined up matches during this FIFA International Friendlies Week and all the countries bordering Zimbabwe — South Africa (TWO matches), Botswana (Two matches), Zambia and Mozambique — have realised the wisdom of sending their national teams into matches.
ZIFA board member in charge of women football, Miriam Sibanda, exploded yesterday, saying the country’s football leadership had turned into a joke, after Mashingaidze cancelled a board meeting that had been scheduled for today.
Mashingaidze, apparently, was on the ropes, leading to today’s scheduled meeting, amid indications he was set to be suspended from his post in what the association’s leaders believe would be the first step to put their house in order following a meeting with Sports Minister, Andrew Langa, last week, where he read them the riot act.
Langa demanded that heads must roll and described ZIFA as a rotten organisation that was lacking in both professionalism and accountability.
“ZIFA is rotten, lacking in professionalism and accountability. We cannot allow our football to be led by a disjointed and confused lot,” Langa said in a statement released after his meeting with the ZIFA board.
“This is intolerable and heads must roll.
“ZIFA has failed the nation and is holding the nation to ransom. Our current football rankings, internationally, leave a lot to be desired.
“It is embarrassing that we were once a force to reckon with, in football, but now we are a laughing stock.”
Mashingaidze, who was asked by the board members who attended the meeting with Langa to leave the boardroom while they discussed the sorry state of the game, appears to have realised he was on his way out today if the board meeting went ahead.
The seven ZIFA board members, who met Langa, agreed at their meeting last Thursday that they should convene another indaba today, because of the crisis gripping their game, and Mashingaidze even circulated a notice for that meeting last Friday.
However, on the eve of the indaba yesterday, Mashingaidze advised the board members that the meeting has been postponed, in a development that will once again test Langa’s resolve and sincerity to ensure that “head must roll,” arguing at the last minute that the meeting violated the ZIFA constitution.
This followed an email, circulated by ZIFA board member, Tavengwa Hara, who did not attend the meeting with the Minister last week, on Wednesday arguing that holding today’s meeting would be a violation of the association’s constitution.
“With the danger of creating another joke, when was the said meeting, which I was absent, held? When was the notice of that meeting circulated and was it constitutional?” Hara wrote in his email.
“As far as I am concerned I have never been absent from a properly-constituted meeting. Let us not mix the Minister’s meeting with a properly constituted Board meeting.
“Where are the minutes of such a meeting which came up with a resolution to hold an unconstitutional meeting in the absence of the CEO?
“Indeed, its’ a joke.”
The email triggered an angry response from women football boss, Miriam Sibanda, who said, in another email circulated to the ZIFA board members that they had, indeed, turned into a very big joke.
“WE ARE A JOKE, THAT IS A FACT,” Sibanda thundered in her email.
“All along we allowed things that were unconstitutional to happen and now when we are expected to act to save the game we hide behind the constitution.
“We agreed last week and a notice was sent out and we were quiet.
“A day before (the meeting), when we have set aside the time, it’s cancelled by the CEO who was not part of the meeting that agreed to call tomorrow’s meeting. “Constitutionality on the table, the Emergency Committee has been meeting, where are the minutes?
I repeat, we are jokers who are afraid to take charge. And one day soon we will be shamed publicly for being too cowardly to do what we were elected to do.
“If we are so worried about upholding the Constitution, how come the High Performance Committee has been allowed to operate with constitutional terms of reference?
“How come the Technical Director is working without being properly hired? Colleagues, I repeat, if we fail to meet tomorrow we are admitting that the CEO calls the shots and we are too scared to be board members.
“So can we truly say we deserve to lead the game? I don’t think so.”
ZIFA board vice-president, Omega Sibanda, also joined the debate with an email circulated to the board members.
“I thought we discussed the issue of the constitution before we unanimously scheduled this meeting for this Friday (27/3/2015),” Sibanda said.
“Mr Hara and Mr Mashingaidze were not in that meeting. We stand committed by our resolution to proceed with the meeting tomorrow (27/3/2015).”
Sources said they could not understand how Hara, who is a lawyer, had not questioned why a petition by some councillors for the holding of an extra-ordinary assembly meeting which was handed to the ZIFA secretariat, has been ignored up to now.