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Drama at Joburg hotel as Zifa is barred from Cosafa AGM

There was drama at a Johannesburg hotel in South Africa yesterday when a Zifa delegation was barred from attending the Cosafa annual general meeting where the organisation was reviewing its 2019 performance and making resolutions for this year.

ZIFA president Felton Kamambo
ZIFA president Felton Kamambo

Zifa president Felton Kamambo was leading his association’s delegation, which included acting vice-president Philemon Machana, chief executive Joseph Mamutse and lawyer Chenaimwoyo Gumiro.

The quartet had ignored a Cosafa warning that they would not be allowed into the indaba on the grounds that Zifa had outstanding financial obligations with the regional body in line with its statutes.

It is understood that the Namibian and Angolan football associations also faced the same fate. But unlike Zifa, Angola and Namibia did not show up at the meeting’s venue in Johannesburg.

On arrival at the hotel, the Zifa delegation found their way blocked by the security team that was manning the entrance to the boardroom.

Last night, Zifa issued a statement on the Johannesburg debacle.

“The Zimbabwe Football Association wishes to inform all football loving stakeholders of the outcome of the 2020 Cosafa Annual General Meeting.

“Regrettably, the Zifa delegation was denied entry into the conference room by hired security details that were placed for that purpose on the allegations of not being in good standing. This was despite efforts by Zifa to pay any dues through Fifa over and above overtures made since Friday to get Cosafa secretariat to provide other details, invoices and/or amounts that may have been owing.

“Such information was deliberately withheld for the entire week before and during the AGM and was only revealed after the meeting in the form of two additional invoices.

“Zifa is convinced this was deliberately done to ensure the association would not have a say in congress deliberations, especially after having given to Cosafa prior notice to move a motion to discuss the various transgressions by the Cosafa president. More fully appear in the 2019 Cosafa audit report, which included questionable payments done to Dr Chiyangwa, which Zifa believed were excessive, including proposed redressive action to be taken.

“Zifa is however happy to inform all football loving stakeholders that the association has neither been banned nor suspended, but was simply stopped from attending the AGM.

“Soon after the AGM, Cosafa secretariat finally gave the Zifa delegation two invoices of R10 000 and USD$3 000 for 2020 affiliation and the appeal on the Warriors ban respectively,’’ Zifa said.

The association indicated that they had immediately paid their affiliation for 2020.

“Zifa has since paid the R10 000 while the USD$3000 will be settled during the course of the week,’’ Zifa said.

While the Zifa delegation was barred from the meeting, their countryman and Zimbabwe Olympic Committee medical commissioner Nicholas Munyonga was part of it as he had been invited to make a presentation on anti-doping.

Spain’s LaLiga also made a presentation at the meeting.

Cosafa said LaLiga has become a valued partner in creating opportunities for young footballers through supplying equipment and expertise during Cosafa’s Youth Festivals that are held at every tournament.

ln the statement they issued at the end of the indaba, Cosafa skirted around the Zifa clash.

Read Cosafa’s statement in part: “The Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) held their Annual General Meeting in Johannesburg on Saturday, where the organisation was able to reflect on a successful 2019 and plot a way forward for the next 12 months.

“Cosafa hosted a record six tournaments in 2019, including first ever Under-20 and Under-17 Women’s Championships, and provided numerous workshops across all spheres of the game to upskill players, coaches, match officials and administrators from all around the region.

“The AGM was led by president Philip Chiyangwa, with several pressing matters pertaining to Southern African football robustly discussed. Resolutions were made and the audited financial statements up to September 2019 were scrutinised and approved by the general assembly.

However, there is no doubt that the drama in Johannesburg yesterday was yet another low point for the game. Yet Zifa and Cosafa could have handled the issue in a better way to avoid creating embarrassing scenes at the meeting’s venue.

The following Cosafa tournament plan for 2020 was ratified:

*Women’s Under-17 Championship – Port Louis, Mauritius (April)

*Men’s Senior Championship – Durban*, South Africa (June 13-27)

*Men’s Under-17 Championship – Blantyre, Malawi (July 22-August 1)

*Women’s Senior Championship – Port Elizabeth, South Africa (September 11-23)

*Women’s Under-20 Championship – Maseru, Lesotho (December 2-12)

*Men’s Under-20 Championship – Port Louis, Mauritius (December 3-12)

The venues for the tournament are yet to be confirmed.

The Women’s Under-17 Beach Soccer tournament might be held in Seychelles from October 19-25, depending on sponsorship. The Men’s Futsal competition will be held at a venue and date that is yet to be announced. The Sunday Mail