AS Zifa President, Cuthbert Dube restructured the Warriors’ technical and playing staff, so did Phillip Chiyangwa during his tenure and Felton Kamambo today.
The common denominator with all three past and present Zifa leaders is the timing of these changes. To most football followers, this has become Zifa’s modus operandi after an unsuccessful and often chaotic tournament campaign.
Tragically, yet another constant and common characteristic of successive Zifa leaders is their wanton yet unnecessary propensity to suspend their predecessors once firmly ensconced in office.
While the rest of African football is grappling to find ways of growing the game technically and commercially, Zifa appears to keep regressing and effectively looking like a constantly crumbling house of cards. And this has become Zimbabwean football’s most tragic character trait!
Recently, the local game was again disturbed by news of the lifetime suspension of former Zifa president Phillip Chiyangwa and his deputy Omega Sibanda by Zifa.
Before anyone had time to catch their breath, news broke of a dissolution of the Warriors’ technical department and the playing staff too. While both sets of news shocked all who cared, they were not surprised at these decisions. After-all, “yilo ibhola leZimbabwe lelo”.
But what have been and still are the consequences of these spurious and oft vindictive edicts? During Dube’s reign of seemingly absolute power, his immediate and most compelling efforts were directed at the demise of his perceived opponents.
A rash of disciplinary cases saw the end of Gift Banda as Southern Region chair along with his Central Region chair Patrick Hokonya on charges of match fixing, among others. Banda was again out of the door as soon as the board gathered enough courage to take him on.
And in all that time, much more pressing issues such as development and commercial success were ignored. Dube’s departure ushered in Chiyangwa and Sibanda amid much pomp and fanfare with expectations of leveraging Chiyangwa’s success as a businessman and Sibanda’s football savvy to finally rid Zimbabwean football of its growth malaise.
But Zifa’s curse came to the fore again. At Chiyangwa’s instigation, this new establishment went about ridding Zifa structures of any who were thought to be enemies.
And then there was the Afcon Finals’ campaign that was kicked off by Zifa-Warriors fights over money that turned very ugly. After a pathetic display Zimbabwe were knocked out in the first round. The result? The Warriors’ set-up was dismantled!
While it may be justifiable to restructure the Warriors considering the problems in Egypt, the key questions are: has nothing been learnt from previous experiences about dealing with player issues?
Why do the same problems keep being resolved in the same ineffective and regressive manner? Why do new Zifa board arrivals keep throwing their predecessors under the bus?
When will football authorities start pursuing developmental policies and do away with vindictive edicts that do nothing for the game? Why have Zifa judicial bodies become organs for payback?
When and only when these questions have been answered will the ever crumbling Zifa house of cards become a much more grounded and solid institution. Sunday News