Benjani Mwaruwari calls for ‘ceasefire’ between defiant SRC and ZIFA
Former Warriors skipper Benjani Mwaruwari has urged the country’s sports regulatory board the SRC as well as the suspended ZIFA board to reach a consensus and settle their differences in order to save Zimbabwean footballers from the impact of the already imposed FIFA ban that was officially announced last week.
Mwaruwari’s sentiments come after there has been an intensified ongoing feud between the government arm and the country’s football federation in the past few months.
This has resulted in the inevitable intervention of FIFA who then decided to suspend Zimbabwe from all international football activities this past Thursday until the dispute has been resolved.
But according to the state owned daily newspaper The Herald, Mwaruwari is concerned about the already imposed FIFA ban and has urged both parties (SRC and ZIFA) to reach a dialogue to end the unfavourable tug of war.
The newspaper went on to report that the former Manchester City striker has called on the country’s football fathers and all the relevant stakeholders to reach a common ground not only for their sake but for the benefit of the Zimbabwean footballers whom soon might feel the pinch due to the impact of the FIFA sanctions.
The Undertaker as Mwaruwari is fondly known, reportedly said this on the sidelines of a football tournament held in Tafara, Harare on Sunday hosted by the ZANU PF Harare East candidate Mavis Gumbo.
“As a footballer, or as a sportsperson, if you are banned, it shows that whatever we are doing, we are going backward.
“As we speak now, of course, some people will say we want to clean the sport, but sometimes you need to find a way, how to clean it.
“It has been like this for a long time, so personally, I think they should have found a way whereby they would talk among each other so that they clean it properly,” Mwaruwari said.
He added: “For me I just want common ground and football progresses, that’s my wish because the players will suffer, the coaches will suffer because we need to go and get the experience playing with other countries because it has been to two, three years without playing football.
“Let’s hope this issue will be resolved quickly. It is painful for us former footballers to see what’s going on, but let’s hope they will resolve it and they clean up football the way they are saying if it’s for the good of the game.”
The reason for FIFA’s ban is linked to the government’s interference in the day to day running of football in the country something that is uncalled for by the existing FIFA statutes.
But to reverse the imposed suspension, FIFA ordered the SRC to reinstate Felton Kamambo and his board members who were suspended in November last year.
FIFA also demands reinstatement of the ZIFA chief executive officer Joseph Mamutse who was individually suspended by the sports regulator two years back (2020).
Also as part of the conditions, FIFA has called upon the SRC to comply by withdrawing court cases that were filed against the aforementioned affected persons.
The suspended ZIFA leader Kamambo, his board and chief executive Mamutse were relieved of their duties due to several allegations including malpractice of the office, fraud, misuse of funds together with cases of sexual harassment.
However, the SRC through its chairman Gerald Mlotshwa has defied the FIFA order and has vowed not to reinstate any of the suspended persons.
This means the path is still longer than expected especially for the world football governing body, FIFA to lift the ban.
Nonetheless, the SRC has revealed its plans to see Zimbabwe’s football being cleared and recognised by FIFA once again before the end of this year. Nehanda Radio