AN item on Fifa’s agenda for the 73rd World Football Association (Fifa) congress scheduled for the Rwandan capital, Kigali on Thursday has heightened fears amongst local football fans and other stakeholders that the country could be expelled from the international football family.
Zimbabwe recently completed a full year since its suspension from the Fifa football family due to third party interference in the running of the affairs at Zifa.
The suspension came after the Zifa executive was suspended by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) on November 26 2021 on a litany of charges, which include gross incompetence, failure to account for public funds and sexual abuse of female referees.
The suspension means Zimbabwe football teams have been barred from international football, while Fifa has also withheld all funding to the country.
While Fifa insist that only a reinstatement of suspended Zifa president Felton Kamambo will get the country’s suspension lifted, the SRC claim they are no longer in any position to legally reverse their decision since Kamambo was recalled by the Zifa Congress.
The deadlock has left Zimbabwean football facing a very grim future and the uncertainty was further heightened on Friday night when Fifa released its agenda for this week’s congress in Rwanda.
The annual congress brings together all Fifa members, heads of confederations and all Fifa invitees and is chaired by Fifa president Gianni Infantino.
According to the agenda, Fifa congress will approve the minutes of the previous congress and the proposals submitted by member associations among several other items of great importance.
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For the rest of the world, the most awaited item on the agenda will be the election of Fifa president who will serve the next four years, with Infantino set to be re-elected unopposed.
However for Zimbabweans it’s the fourth item on the agenda, where congress delegates will deliberate on the “suspension or expulsion of a member association” which has caused panic amongst local stakeholders.
Exiled former information minister Jonathan Moyo joined the debate by laying the blame for the country’s suspension and possible expulsion on Sports Minister Kirsty Coventry and the Gerald Mlotshwa-led SRC board.
“Word is that Zimbabwe faces expulsion at the forthcoming 75th @Fifa.com Congress to be held at the BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda, on 16 March 2023. Minister @KirstyCoventry and the Sports and Recreation Commission under Gerald Mlotshwa are doing Zim football an incalculable disservice!”
However a PSL insider cautioned that it was unlikely that the Fifa agenda is on Zimbabwe.
“It's always an agenda item and the agenda is standard across all confirmed FA congresses and affiliates. Fifa statutes are aligned for itself, all FA and leagues and only differ in context and wording,” noted the PSL official.
“Next week we have a PSL board meeting and such an item (suspension or admittance of a member) is also on the agenda and has been there on all Agendas since 2013 whether or not anyone is due for suspension. Every year we read it out and skip it. Yes this time it may be applicable on Fifas agenda but don't fool yourself that it was added specifically for Zimbabwe,” he noted.