AFTER years of polarisation, stoked by toxic football leadership, Zifa interim chairman Gift Banda and his board find themselves seized with the urgent need to restore the health of national football and champion the development agenda of the game that has been marred by corruption and feuds. .
Banda, who was recently appointed by the Zifa Congress to lead the ship following the recall of Felton Kamambo and two other board members, yesterday explained his vision for the remainder of the term.
Along with board members Barbara Chikosi, Farai Jere and Sugar Chagonda, the board faced the media for the first time yesterday after the Sports and Recreation Commission approved congressional resolutions.
“First of all, I would like to thank Congressmen Zifa for entrusting me with the enormous national responsibility of pushing forward the agenda and vision of the football parliament.
“I join the rest of my fellow Executive Committee members, whose mandate was not revoked at the recent EGM in Zifa, fully aware of the tasks ahead of us, as was underlined at the same EGM.
“And, on behalf of my fellow executive committee members, I promise you we won’t let you down.
You will all agree with me that our football has suffered a lot over the years, and it is time we gave football a breath of fresh air.
“I would like to salute the Football Council for correcting the mistakes that were made by putting our football in the hands of selfish individuals whose aim was to enrich themselves at the expense of football development.
“I would also like to thank the government, through the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Leisure, and the Sports and Leisure Commission, for understanding and accepting the measures taken by the owners of the football , namely the Zifa Congress, to address the challenges that were affecting the leadership and management system of our game.
“By lifting the suspensions imposed, the SRC has chosen to give football a chance to cleanse itself and the gesture is well appreciated.
We have taken into account our shortcomings and we will work hard to ensure good governance in football, at all important times,” Banda said.
But it could be difficult to move forward due to the deep divisions in domestic football.
The divisions were also exposed as the special EGM approached, which ousted Kamambo, finance board members Philemon Machana and Bryton Malandule.
Banda, who was the victim of politics after being kicked out of office less than a month after his election as Zifa’s vice president, said it was time to bring all interested parties back to push the agenda forward. of development.
“Yes, there are divisions in football.
It’s there for everyone to see but with my board, we don’t come here with an agenda to put people out or get revenge or anything.
“We say football must be the winner at the end of the day.
If you see the number of councilors at the AGM, where we had about 45 out of 58, that tells you that we were almost fully registered.
“There are those who have chosen not to attend the AGE, it is in their right.
There are those who may still be living in the past, it is also within their rights but what we can assure everyone is that we are not going to try to hunt witches because it is not is not good for football,” Banda said.
Apart from the dismissals and elevation of Banda as interim president, the football parliamentarians also absolved board members Jere, Chikosi and Chagonda of charges against the committee at their extraordinary meeting on April 23.
The resolutions have since been confirmed by the Sports Commission and the Zifa Congress has given the council the following mandate:
• Convene a general assembly, which will pave the way for the development of a roadmap for the elections of all our structures
• Institute a forensic audit
• To engage Fifa, as we work to ensure that Zimbabwe’s suspension is lifted, leading to its readmission to the international community
In their efforts to bring about the cure, Banda confirmed they had successfully negotiated with the Sports Commission to lift the suspension of chief executive Joseph Mamutse.
The CEO of Zifa, suspended in November 2020, did not, however, answer the call.
Banda also announced that it had strengthened the office by appointing association spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela as director of operations, working with Mamutse.
“I think everyone knows Mamutse’s suspension was lifted by the CBC.
That he decided not to report to work, we wrote to him as an association demanding that he report to work.
“If he continues to not show up for work, it becomes a labor issue because you can’t drag someone from their home to come to work if they feel like they’re not not ready or no longer interested in coming to work.
“We will wait for the period of obligation imposed by labor law to see what measures can be taken against him if he continues to be absent without valid reason.
“We all know Mamutse suspension was never tied to board suspension.
This was done before the board was suspended and we engaged the SRC to try to ensure their suspension was lifted, which we succeeded.
If he doesn’t come to work, it becomes a labor issue,” Banda said.
Zifa is currently suspended from Fifa after world football’s governing body ruled that the suspension of the Kamambo-led Zifa board last November by the Sports Commission amounted to “third-party interference”.
Banda said engagements would continue with the Sports Commission, Fifa and other relevant stakeholders to ensure normalcy returns to Zimbabwean football.
“We are aware of the frustrations the football family is currently experiencing, particularly the anxiety punctuated by confusion over whether our beloved Warriors and Mighty Warriors will be able to compete in upcoming international tournaments.
“I want to assure the nation that there is a lot going on behind the scenes and we are hopeful that we will succeed on this.
The executive committee will meet soon to plan how to approach all the tasks at hand, in accordance with the precepts of the constitution of Zifa.
“This will lead to a call to convene the pending annual general meeting notice of which has already been served.
This will give the football parliament the opportunity to install members of the electoral committee, who will propose the electoral roadmap to elect the new management of Zifa across the spectrum.
“Let me hasten to say that as we enter the office, we will ensure that all books of account are audited through a forensic audit.
The committee’s desire is to pave the way for a new culture of doing things within our football and to ensure that legacy issues are all resolved.
This is what will boost investor confidence and attract sponsors to football,” Banda said.
“Our culture of doing business at Zifa House needs to change. It doesn’t have to be business as usual.
We will reconstitute the Constitutional Review Commission in the hope of filling the gaps in the current statutes and ensuring that it is aligned with the FIFA statutes.
“It will bring a new dawn to our football.
We take office at a time when the receiving tray is full of items to be processed.
“Operations at football headquarters will continue as normal with
as Secretary General while Xolisani Gwesela will now assume the position of Director of Operations to optimize the work of the Secretariat.
We will give the secretariat maximum support as it will grow the beautiful game,” Banda said.