Zifa defends Gift Banda suspension

Zifa defends Gift Banda suspension
Published: 20 January 2019 (1025 Views)
Zifa president Felton Kamambo has defended the association's decision to suspend vice-president Gift Banda, stressing that his executive would continue to respect its constitution and follow due process.

There were murmurs in some quarters to the effect that last week's decision by the executive committee to suspend Banda would trigger a banning spree of the association's members, as did the previous leadership headed by Philip Chiyangwa.

Banda was last Wednesday suspended for having brought the game into disrepute after allegedly reshuffling the Warriors technical team without the approval of the Zifa boss and other board members.

The Bulawayo-based administrator recently announced that Warriors assistant coaches Rahman Gumbo and Lloyd Mutasa had been relieved of their duties and replaced by Bongani Mafu and Tonderai Ndiraya.

The decision, which was made while Kamambo was in Senegal for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) awards, was reversed following a meeting of the game's leaders held last week, leading to Banda's suspension after a vote.

There have been suggestions that the new leadership headed by Kamambo was going the same path as his predecessor who embarked on a banning spree against other football administrators during his tenure as the Zifa boss.

Chiyangwa has been accused of meddling in Zifa's affairs after allegedly holding meetings with Banda and some board members in the lead-up to the association's board meeting on Wednesday.

Kamambo, whose leadership last month lifted the ban on 11 people that had been suspended for various offences over the last two years, however allayed fears that his leadership was out to settle personal scores against perceived enemies and insisted that due process would be followed.

"Gift Banda is still within the system, whatever decision was made by the board is not unilateral and due process will be followed. We have not gone back to the days of mass suspensions. What we did was just to follow due process. It doesn't mean that just because we have only got into office we should not take any action when someone has clearly overstepped his mandate," Kamambo said.

"The board saw it appropriate to take action, but due process will be followed, so if our decision as the board was wrong then it will be reversed. However, I can assure all stakeholders in Zimbabwean football that our main focus is to develop football and not infighting.People must look at the positives that made us arrive at that decision," he added.

Kamambo said the decision to relieve Gumbo and Mutasa of their duties had angered Warriors head coach Sunday Chidzambga while creating acrimony in the national team camp ahead of the Warriors' final 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Congo-Brazzaville.

The Warriors need to avoid defeat against the Congolese in the match to be played on March 24 at the National Sports Stadium for them to secure their ticket to the Afcon finals to be hosted by Egypt in June.

"Firstly, we reversed what was clearly an ill-advised decision because we want to have progress in our football which is our main focus. Because of the decision to suspend the assistant coaches there were already fissures and a lot of resentment in the Warriors camp. The coach (Chidzambga) was not happy at all and the majority of the board members were in agreement that it was not the right decision to change coaches when we are 90 minutes away from qualification."

The Zifa boss said his association's focus was already on the Warriors Afcon qualifier and preparations were going according to plan.

"We haven't returned to the times of mass suspensions and endless infighting. We are very passionate about taking Zimbabwean football forward while adhering to our constitution fully.

"Our focus is on football issues, not politics, and we are already planning for the big match in March. Pre-match ticket sales will start on the 1st of February and people can buy them online or at designated outlets across the country. We are also going to launch a campaign for the game in mid-February while on Monday (tomorrow) we will have a site meeting at the National Sports Stadium in preparation for the match," he said.

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