ZIMBABWE Football Association chief executive officer, Jonathan Mashingaidze, has turned the knife on Herald senior sports editor Robson Sharuko blasting him for writing falsehoods.
Mashingaidze was furious that Sharuko claimed he wrote a letter to FIFA describing deputy minister of sports arts and culture Tabetha Kanengoni as “Ignorant and misguided.”
This was after the minister called for the dissolution of the Zifa board during a question and answer session in parliament last week.
Sharuko also said in his report that Mashingaidze wrote a letter to the world soccer governing body asking them to order the government not to interfere in football matters at ZIFA.
In a statement, Mashingaidze disassociated himself from the said letter and threatened to sue the newspaper if they do not retract the story.
“We are utterly baffled that Robson Sharuko has gone overdrive to the extent of manufacturing letters in their newsroom and linking me to the authorship of the said letter,” said the ZIFA boss.
“We are dismayed that a reputable media house like The Herald would sink that low to forge and fabricate letters.
“We do hereby challenge The Herald to produce the so-called letter bearing my bona fide signature and the alleged electronic mail sent to FIFA.
“We are also amazed that Robson Sharuko never made an effort to contact FIFA to verify whether they received such a letter.
“Therefore we kindly request The Herald to retract their falsehoods within 24 hours, failure of which we will institute legal proceedings.
“While we respect the watchdog role of the media, we are concerned with the extent to which The Herald has pursued agenda setting tendencies founded on false allegations without bothering to confirm with the concerned persons.”
In a related development, on the 3rd of February, The Herald reported that the ZIFA CEO called for changes in the country’s football leadership and that provincial leaders were summoned to a secret meeting where they were given out of pocket allowances.
“This is not only false but defamatory hence such allegations should be dismissed with the contempt they deserve,” said Mashingaidze.
“Neither I nor Dr Cuthbert Dube met with the councillors referred to in the report. Moreover it should be stressed that the President of the association has the right to summon or meet with the councillors to share his vision with them as and whenever he deems fit.
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“We are aware of the ulterior motives harboured by the local daily publication but we will not be deterred in our resolve to steer local football to the shores.”
The Zifa CEO has been accused of running the football federation with an iron fist and making it a two-man organisation in which he and Dube call the shots while side-lining other board members.
This is said to have caused the fall of standards in the local game and a group of former administrators led by Francis Zimunya met with Sports minister Andrew Langa lobbying for the dissolution of the Dube-led board.
The saga eventually spilled into parliament where Kanengoni said it was better to face the consequences of a ban from the game by Fifa for government interference rather than keep Dube in office.