Sugar breaks ranks in the ZIFA saga
Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Writer
SUGAR CHAGONDA has become the first deposed ZIFA board member to break ranks with his colleagues by saying he will abide by the Sports Commission decision to dissolve the country’s football leadership.
Chagonda has since urged fellow members of the ousted ZIFA board to follow suit and put the interests of the game, in particular, and the country, in general, ahead of personal interests.
He also sharply criticized the decision of some die-hard ZIFA board members, who were fired Monday night by the sports commission, to flex their muscles and use the referees as pawns, to cripple the National Premiership this week.
Bryton Malandule, who was in charge of referees on the ousted ZIFA board of directors, has been named as the man who ordered referees across the country not to take charge of league matches , moments before they kick off.
Malandule is said to have been one of three members of the fallen ZIFA leadership to have taken the decision to order referees not to whistle during league matches.
Chagonda believes the stalemate between the SRC and the ousted football leadership should have been resolved, in the boardrooms, without spilling out onto the pitches, where it risks frustrating top league sponsors, players and officials. coaches.
His statement also came the day Kenya’s Sports Minister Amina Mohamed, who wielded an ax at her country’s football federation last week, spoke with FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura.
Amina described the virtual meeting as an “excellent consultative meeting between the Kenyan government and FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura”, and they will meet again next week.
Importantly, she said that all decisions made by the Kenyan government, including the dissolution of its football federation, remain intact.
“All the decisions of the GOK (Government of Kenya) on the management of football remain in place and intact,” she said.
“Next meeting in a week. “
This means fears that FIFA’s reaction to the SRC’s decision to suspend Zimbabwe from international football, without even consulting the local sports regulator, are unfounded.
It also means that there will be a process, including commitments, between the two parties, before a decision is made.
Chagonda said now is the time to keep a cool head rather than confront each other.
“Like any other institution or commission, nobody wants to leave their functions or the mandate which would have been entrusted to them in particular in the public service by the means of a suspension or a dismissal”, he declared in his press release. .
“It is therefore very regrettable that our executive committee of the ZIFA, commonly called the board of directors, was, on Tuesday November 16, 2021, suspended by the sports and recreation commission.
“The CBC gave its reasons and in its statement it also indicated that it consulted before acting, which could suggest that its decision has the blessing of the government.
“Accordingly, it is my appeal to the other members of the ZIFA board that we must respect the decision of the SRC and take it to the chin.
“In law, these are our sports authorities, as enshrined in the Law on Sport and Recreation.
“As a football organization, we can exercise certain remedies through our international federation, which in this case is FIFA, but since we can explore all of these avenues, I would like us to respect the statement made by the SRC.
“Personally, I have made it known to ZIFA President Felton Kamambo and my colleagues, I do not believe that the decision taken by the government of Zimbabwe through the SRC should be reversed.
He described the move to ban referees from performing their duties during midweek league matches amounted to sabotage and he did not want to be part of the circus.
“I also want to categorically distance myself from any move to sabotage any of the structures of the game, including the unfortunate decision to remove referees, from all Premier Soccer League matches,” Chagonda said in his statement.
“To me that is synonymous with witchcraft or daylight witchcraft.
“We were elected to the ZIFA Board of Directors with a mandate to promote, develop and develop football and as such we cannot destroy the very game we claim to protect, simply because our authorities have us crack the whip.
“We are a piece of advice that is not without reproach.
“FIFA has yet to give any advice or guidance on how to take this suspension, but we still cannot discredit football even more by removing match officials at a time when our long-suffering clubs have already incurred huge expenses related to match preparation, including expensive Covid-19 PCR testing for players and officials.
“We don’t want to send the wrong message to the corporate world that has chosen to partner with football when at the altar of any disciplinary action against we are seen throwing the keys to all of Zimbabwean football.
“If this is true for some reason, it is from ZIFA, I am not ashamed to say it was not a collective decision of the board. “
Chagonda said he does not understand the panic caused by the CBC decision when all channels, in terms of resolving the stalemate, have not yet been exhausted.
“So far Zimbabwe has not been banned and personally I do not want it,” he said.
“The country should never be held to ransom because Chagonda was kicked out of office, at least that’s not my wish.
“I love football, it must be able to continue, due process must be followed and decisions must be based on truth, professionalism and above all progressive.
“I will obey the law and, if necessary, use the appropriate channels to clear my name on the allegations that have been made against our board of directors, but I will let all other facets of football continue as there was no no suspension or general ban from football.
“If my suspension by the authorities saves our football and the interests of the nation as a whole, so be it because I also want to enjoy good football and advance national aspirations.
“I love football but not so much that it puts me on a collision course with my government.
“If we expect FIFA and the whole world to respect us, we must first and foremost respect the laws of our country, even if we disagree with the action.”