Zifa acting vice-president, Phil Machana, wants to see a new era where differences are buried to help local clubs, and the national teams, rise from the challenges brought about by Covid-19.
He was speaking on ZBC Classic FM radio programme ”Morning Grill,” which brought the representatives from ZIFA, PSL and the Sports Commission together, into a lively discussion.
“Like I always say, maybe I could be wrong, but the real issue is that we need to sit down as Zimbabweans and be united for our football, for our sport,” said Machana.
The ZIFA acting vice-president alleged that his office has been getting a raw deal from their superiors at Sports Commission in their efforts to bring back football.
He said so far, the SRC have cleared the Warriors, to fulfill their international commitments but turned down requests for the national team to engage other national sides in friendlies.
The Warriors have two finals AFCON qualifiers against Zambia and Botswana next month. Machana feels that, without friendly internationals, the Warriors will always be short, in terms of their preparations and, sadly, when they do badly, as was the case at the CHAN finals, the blame is heaped on ZIFA.
“Mr Sebastian Garikai (Sports Commission acting director-general) talked of a turnaround of 10 days but the international matches that we applied for, we applied for them at the beginning of January,” said Machana.
”But, we only got the response yesterday (Monday), more than 30 days after the application.
“On applying for the international games, we also applied for international friendlies, so that our national teams can also play with other national teams before they go to the main matches.
“We got a response yesterday saying those (the friendly matches) are not authorised.
”But, we use the same protocols for international friendlies, and for the main matches, but you find the friendly matches being disapproved and the main matches getting approved.
“So, it’s like sending the team without being prepared and when results come, and they come bad, they are blamed on ZIFA.
”They say you did not prepare the team. But ZIFA had applied for international friendlies and the same SRC replied and said you can only do local friendlies.
“But do the local friendlies with who, when the local league is not playing? We can’t do it now because, apart from FC Platinum, there is no other team that is active.
“I am simply appealing to the powers that be, if we can find ourselves for the sake of our nation, for the sake of our sport and for the sake of our clubs that are investing huge sums of money to make sure that, as a country, we play football.”
However, Garikai claimed ZIFA were always making false allegations to the media yet they were not following the procedures, for application, under the new lockdown rules.
Garikai said ZIFA only re-applied for the resumption of football, this week, yet they were making a lot of noise that they were being frustrated.
“After the promulgation of Statutory Instrument 10 of 2021, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) issued a statement on 2 January 2021 advising all National Sport Associations (NSAs) on the suspension of all sport activity.
“SRC called upon all NSAs wishing to undertake activities during the lockdown period to re-apply for approval by the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation.
“It is important to note that the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) only re-applied today (Tuesday) the 9th of February 2021, at around 1100hrs.
”SRC will immediately activate the approval process which all associations have been advised of.
“As a point of clarity, the last application with regard to possible resumption of football by ZIFA to SRC was on 21 December 2020, wherein ZIFA submitted an application without the necessary protocols as is required.
“This application was subsequently affected by Statutory Instrument 10 of 2021, which led to the suspension, and the need for re-application.
“The safe resumption of any sporting activity, in the country, is guided by the prevailing Covid-19 regulations and policies enacted to mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic.”
Garikai also dispelled claims there was bad blood between the ZIFA and Sports Commission.
“The SRC is a regulatory authority whose ethos are founded on professionalism and transparency.
”The SRC fosters the equitable treatment of all its National Sport Associations regardless.
“As you might be aware there is a Covid-19 Special Board Committee that assesses applications for the safe resumption of sports at first instance.
“Recommendations are then made to the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation who, in consultation with other relevant Ministries, including the Ministry of Health and Child Care, will make the necessary decisions on the matter.
“SRC had not received any re-applications by ZIFA, for the safe resumption of football, until today 9 February 2021 at about 1100 hours, through e-mail.
”How then do we as, SRC, frustrate a process that had not been initiated at first instance?”
Garikai said all applications from different associations go through the same processes which are as follows:
”a) An NSA initiates an application for resumption. The application must detail the Covid-19 prevention and containment measures in line with WHO, Ministry of Health and Global sport guidelines.
b) Application is assessed by the Covid-19 Special Board Committee which meets virtually. The Committee comprises of SRC Board, Management, Epidemiologists and individuals with expertise in pandemic management and containment including sport administration.
c) The Committee makes recommendations to the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation who in consultation with the Minister of Health and Child Care will either approve or reject the application based on the submissions made.
d.) SRC notifies NSA of outcome.” The Chronicle.