ZIFA has sensationally accused the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) and its board chairman Gerald Mlotshwa of allegedly harbouring vendettas as a boardroom battle looms between the country’s sports regulatory authority and the embattled football association.
The accusations by the ZIFA board which are contained in a damning press statement released on Sunday evening comes after the SRC last week suspended ZIFA chief executive, Joseph Mamutse, from all forms of football activities.
Mamutse was suspended together with the SRC director general Mupazviriho to pave way for investigations into how a number of national football teams were cleared for foreign assignments, under questionable circumstances, in this Covid-19 environment.
SRC last week initially refused to grant permission to the Zimbabwe Under-20 men’s football team from travelling to South Africa for the COSAFA U20 Men’s Championships. The decision was reversed by the Sports Ministry.
The initial decision to bar the Young Warriors and the subsequent suspension of Mamutse drew the ire of the ZIFA board, which in a statement after a meeting on Sunday, accused the SRC of not following due diligence before making its decision to suspend their official.
Mamutse was also blamed by the SRC for the recent disqualification of the national U-17 team from the Under-17 COSAFA tournament on age cheating allegations.
ZIFA however revealed that they were yet to receive official communication of Mamutse’s alleged suspension after only being made aware of it from reports in the media.
“ZIFA wishes to inform the nation and the world at large that up to the time of this release on the 29th of November 2020, neither the Association nor its CEO has received any formal communication from the SRC regarding the suspension. Besides press articles that allege the same, ZIFA or its employee has not been informed of this position if at all it was made,” ZIFA charged.
“ZIFA has made enquiries to the SRC secretariat but no one there seems to know about the alleged SRC Board meeting which sat and made the purported decision to suspend Mr Mamutse, a ZIFA employee. Accordingly, the ZIFA CEO is still at work carrying out his normal duties and ZIFA will only respond further on this upon receiving the said correspondence.
“It is ZIFA’s expectation that good corporate governance as alleged played by the SRC do dictate that decisions and according to their governing Act must be arrived at legally within the confines of the Act and communicated to those affected by them especially where implementation of these require their participation. ZIFA is of the considered view that suspensions or any administrative actions can never be implemented and communicated through the social media and the press. ZIFA can only make a decision after receiving correspondence from SRC about this alleged suspension,” reads ZIFA’s statement.
The local football mother body also leapt to the defence of its “suspended” CEO arguing that he had followed all required protocols both on the clearing of national football teams for foreign assignments and the recent Young Warriors’ disqualification.
Additionally, ZIFA went on to accuse the SRC of allegedly seeking to find ways to discredit the football association by deliberately delaying to approve national football teams for international engagements.
The Felton Kamambo-led board said the sports regulatory body was to blame for the chaos that characterised the lead up to the Warriors trip to Malawi for an international friendly.
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“The Malawi friendly was a disaster mainly because of the late approval by the SRC. ZIFA never publicly blamed anyone knowing that even the government was still trying to balance the need for sport and the priority area of managing the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead, the ZIFA Board, acting through its quiet, hardworking and effective CEO and his dedicated staff, were able to salvage the trip by chartering a flight, albeit with limited players due to the inadequate notice period. ZIFA was blamed by all and sundry but chose to keep quiet on the understanding that the SRC, being the ones who gave a late approval, were fully aware we were not to blame,” ZIFA said.
ZIFA said it was aware of the futile attempts by the SRC chairman to have the ZIFA board suspended and be replaced by a normalisation committee on unproven allegations of failure to adhere to good corporate governance, violations of constitutions, misappropriation of funds.