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Inside sport: Our ‘illiterate’ football leaders

Bata stadium

THE Bata Stadium debacle  reminds us of the findings of the Zifa Restructuring Committee that said some members of the Zifa Assembly were so illiterate that they could not read and interpret their own constitution.

That, coming from that esteemed committee, was just a mild way of telling Zimbabweans that most of their football leaders were so far away from education that they did not even know the job they were elected to do.

Simply, the Zifa Restructuring Committee was not referring to the Zifa Assembly as in the Zifa Council, but the whole Zimbabwean football leadership including those in the Premier Soccer League as well.

Who can dispute those findings after the Bata Stadium debacle revealed that even the Farai Jere-led PSL Emergency Committee does not know the parameters in which they are supposed to operate within?

Where did the PSL Emergency Committee get the powers to ban a Bata Stadium that had been given the all clear by the Zifa First Instance Body that included a sporting expert and a qualified infrastructure expert?

According to the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the FIB is the only decision-making body responsible for granting or rejecting a license for domestic and international competitions.

“The decisions taken by the FIB are final and their implementation is mandatory,” reads part of Caf’s club licensing regulations, which unfortunately the PSL failed to interpret.

This, however, is simple: This means the homologation of Bata Stadium could not be reversed by anyone, not even the Zifa Board and worse still, the PSL Emergency Committee.

So, by overturning the decision of the FIB, were the PSL insinuating that something ‘shoddy’ happened behind the back between Sheasham and the FIB or that the FIB itself is not good at its job ?

What is even disturbing in the whole saga is that the PSL Emergency Committee — which also includes  Lifa Ncube, Lovemore Matikinyidze and Masimba Chihowa — has never been to Bata Stadium and took their decision from a picture taken of only a small section of the stadium.

Highlanders and their supporters never raised an issue about the quality of the stadium, neither did Gweru residents who took their time to be part of the grand opening of Bata Stadium, raising questions as to why the PSL banned the stadium in the first place.

Even ironic is the fact that the stadium successfully hosted the immensely popular Highlanders only to be condemned when Sheasham were about to host Caps United, a team owned coincidentally by Jere, the PSL supremo.

What is even funny is that this PSL Emergency Committee does not have the slightest idea as to the origins of the picture they used in coming up with their decision — who took and circulated it, and the motive for doing that.

On that Premise, Sheasham are justified in their refusal to leave Bata, a stadium deemed good enough for Premiership football and should stand their ground against this increased bullying in our football.

They should not be pressurized into a compromise because the problem is not of their creation but that of Zifa and the PSL who should come to an agreement without depriving the club of its rights.

Take for example, Baobab Stadium; Soccer fans watch matches whilst seated on top of huge lumps of soil but the PSL has not made an issue out of it but now that it is Sheasham — a small team — it has become a big matter.

Surely, the PSL Emergency Committee has not only belittled the FIB but has also brought its own integrity and sense of reasoning into question.

Even if they decide to change their decision on Bata Stadium, the damage has already been done and the football family has already come up with its conclusion on what they think of them and their leadership.

Part of their conclusion is that this PSL Committee is

just like most of our football leaders for whom common sense is not common at all. 

Surely, those who elect our football leaders should be sent to prison for giving football the wrong type of leadership

The Zifa Restructuring Committee was right to say most of them are ‘illiterate’ because they cannot simply just read and understand their own  rules and regulations.

For your comments, views, and suggestions mkariati@gmail.com or WhatsApp on 0773 266 779.

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