Zifa threats: Much ado about nothing

REPORTS at the weekend by some newspapers suggested the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) was now in the process of reconstituting its disciplinary committee and one of the matters in the in-tray awaiting the new committee is something to do with Harare City FC chairman Leslie Gwindi.

On The Ball with Innocent Kurwa

Sometime ago Gwindi addressed the Bulawayo Press Club and during this address he lambasted the Zifa powers over the poor administration of local football, especially the poor performance of the national soccer team, the Warriors.

Since that address a lot has happened in local football and some of what has come to pass vindicates Gwindi while other things have suggested that Gwindi was wrong.

Beyond that, what Gwindi said was not earth-shattering and was the sort of thing that people say openly in football debates in bars while sharing drinks. It is also the sort of thing that one is likely to hear on the commuter omnibus to say Magwegwe suburb.

Generally speaking, football is a big talking point in the country and being of such social importance, football will always be on the lips of all and sundry. Whether some of the things said in all these debates are correct is not an issue.

Therefore, it is puzzling when Zifa seeks to punish Gwindi for his remarks at the Bulawayo Press Club when what he said could have been said by any other Zimbabwean with an interest in football, no matter how small that interest could be. Zifa was apparently peeved by whatever Gwindi said and has vowed to punish him for these indiscretions.

Zifa has, since then, also issued quite a number of statements responding to Gwindi’s accusations. At some stage Zifa promised to address the Bulawayo Press Club and use the same turf to “hit back” at Gwindi.

Somehow the plan did not materialise because Zifa president Cuthbert Dube could not make it to Bulawayo.

In their wisdom, Zifa substituted the Bulawayo Press Club address with an invitation to sportswriters in the southern part of the country to Harare on an all-expenses-paid trip. Given all the efforts Zifa has made to respond to whatever Gwindi said and that Gwindi in turn has not said anything thereafter, is it necessary that we are still being told that Zifa is still to open a disciplinary case against Gwindi?

Surely Zifa has a lot more serious issues to tackle than expending all their energies fighting one man who simply happened to have said openly what a lot others say in bars and buses.

Maybe there is something much more serious that we do not know! Zifa needs to show us that it is not simply being pesky by picking up what appears to be a petty quarrel with Gwindi.

By continually seeking to punish Gwindi, Zifa leave some people with a feeling that it must be out to silence Gwindi lest he sets an example for others to follow in openly criticising Zifa.

Is Zifa aware that closing up debate is in fact, counter-productive; if anything open debate must be encouraged as it is the only way in which Zifa can keep a finger on the vibes so to speak?

Allowing free debate is a way of providing Zifa with a feedback on how it is running football in the country. Stifling such debate is like burying one’s head in the sand.

 Congratulations to FC Platinum and their Zvishavane neighbours Shabanie Mine for reaching the BancABC Sup8r Cup final. The two teams reached the final in two contrasting ways — FC Platinum dispatching Monomotapa 3-1 on Saturday and Shabanie Mine edging favourites Dynamos 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out after the two sides were deadlocked 1-1 at the end of extra time.

Both semi-finals were played at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo. The victories have, of course, thrown up a scintillating derby final on September 21.

 Reports from international news agencies suggest that Sri Lanka’s tour of Zimbabwe scheduled for next month has been called off at the request of Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) which is going through severe financial problems.

The financial dire straits are clearly causing ZC a huge headache, what with national team players now resorting to boycotting training in order to push their case for payment of outstanding and long overdue match fees and bonuses.

Cricket was at one time one of the best supported sport disciplines in the country in terms of corporate support — both in terms of sponsorship and attendance at matches.

We all still remember the days gone by when corporates used to invite their business associates – customers and suppliers to their tent at the cricket ground to watch a Test match for example. What has gone wrong with cricket? Is it all to do with the economic problems?

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