Spare a thought for Banda, the Isolated One
By Robson Sharuko
For 962 days, representing two years and eight months, the man who was elected, to be the ZIFA vice-president, has been frozen out of the country’s football controlling body.
Gift Banda won 66 percent of the vote in an overwhelming vote of confidence to land the second most influential role within the administrative structure of domestic football.
His 37 votes were more than the 35 which Felton Kamambo got en-route to becoming ZIFA president. There is a reason why the office of the ZIFA vice-president is such a key one, within the association’s structures.
‘‘If the president is permanently prevented, from performing his official function, and his position becomes vacant (eg death, resignation, unexcused absence from the executive committee for three consecutive meetings), the vice-president shall represent him until the next congress,’’ the ZIFA constitution stipulates.
‘‘The congress shall elect a new president, if necessary.’’
Somehow, for all the importance of that role, the man who was elected ZIFA vice-president in December 2018, only exercised his duties for just one month.
Banda was suspended by his fellow board members in January 2019. He was accused of unilaterally changing the composition of the Warriors technical team without the input of others. On January 8, 2019, Banda announced the appointment of Tonderai Ndiraya and Bongani Mafu as Sunday Chidzambwa’s assistants in the Warriors coaching set-up.
The duo had replaced Lloyd Mutasa and Rahman Gumbo, with Nick Munyonga coming in as the team doctor.
The appointments were made while Banda’s boss, Kamambo, was in Senegal attending the CAF awards. However, the ZIFA board nullified the appointments a week later and, although Banda apologised for his error of judgment, he was suspended. It was the start of a messy and lengthy process, with decisions being made, by some people, within the ZIFA judicial structures, which appear to be a mockery, of the virtues of the legal profession.
The foundation on which justice is built, where the principle that the mere appearance of bias is sufficient to overturn a judicial decision, has repeatedly been ignored.
The more Banda has battled, to be allowed to execute the mandate he was given by the electorate, the more the process has become an insult to everything, which the purity of fairness, represents.
He remains frozen, from the game’s leadership, spending 349 days, on the sidelines, in 2019, 356 days, in 2010 and he has already clocked 256 days, this year alone.
Law students, tasked by the lecturers to provide a human story, which probably explains the meaning of justice delayed is justice denied, could get a classic one from Banda’s battle. But, what if there is a constituency out there, just like those on the ZIFA board, which believes he deserves his isolation?
Those who rightly believe there has to be a huge price to pay, for trying to unsettle the Warriors’ technical team?
One which argues that Banda, as the acting president, at the time he rang the changes, had a significant moral blameworthiness.
That’s fair and fine.
However, in the wake of the controversy related to the recruitment of Zdravko Logarusic, who was sacked on Sunday after winning just one of his 14 matches, a number of questions have to be asked:
- If Banda deserves to be frozen from the ZIFA board for more than two-and-half years, what about those who, beyond any possibility of reason, recommended that Loga was the best possible candidate, for the Warriors job?
- And, given they are members of the so-called ZIFA technical committee, the ultimate experts when it comes to coaching issues, doesn’t that also carry an element of blameworthiness, for them, in all this mess?
- Should they just escape, without any sanctions, when they deliberate or otherwise, sold their board, in particular, and the nation, in general, a dummy they had found a coach who would take the Warriors, to the next level?
- If Banda committed a grave offence by announcing changes, which were nullified after just one week, what about those who recommended a hapless Loga, to take charge of the Warriors, for almost two years?
- And, by extension, those who decided to employ him without making further background checks on the coach, even though his Curriculum Vitae didn’t even fill half-a-page, showing he was ill-equipped, for such a big job?
- Why did the ZIFA board keep buying time for him, backing the coach when it was very clear from the word go Loga did not have experience, let alone the sound character, needed for such a national responsibility?
- Given the Warriors never went into any battle under the coaching set-up which Banda had come up with, what about this fatal mistake which saw the team play 14 games under a rookie and hopeless coach?
- A coaching set-up which at the time of the messy divorce, has seen the Warriors finish last, at the CHAN finals, last at the COSAFA Cup and find themselves last, in their 2022 World Cup qualifying group?
- If a precedent was set on Banda, with a loud and clear message that one, irrespective of their position on the ZIFA board, cannot mess around with the Warriors, shouldn’t some people also pay for this whole Loga fiasco?
- What is the price for irresponsibility, when those tasked with making decisions, come short to such an extent they can recommend, and recruit a lightweight coach, like Loga, for such a heavyweight national task?
Isn’t it ironic that Ndiraya, the coach Banda had brought into the Warriors’ technical fold, was also the one the ZIFA board turned to, when Loga came around? The Herald