By Sports Reporter
THE Felton Kamambo-led Zifa has accused Cosafa president Philip Chiyangwa of pushing for sanctions from the regional bloc against his country of origin “for a crime he individually committed” through allegedly submitting an “unauthorised bid” to host this year’s regional tournament in 2018.
Cosafa last week announced that Zimbabwe has been banned from participating in next year’s edition of the regional tournament for reneging on a commitment to host this year’s tourney after failing to get the necessary government guarantee.
South Africa ended up hosting the tournament that was eventually won by Zambia.
Zimbabwe faces further isolation from the regional bloc unless it pays the stipulated US$ 200 000 fine.
The current Zifa excecutive has however maintained that the commitment to host the Cosafa Cup was made by the previous leadership at the local football mother body, which was ironically headed by Chiyangwa.
Chiyangwa is the immediate past president of Zifa.
They accuse Chiyangwa of allegedly misrepresenting to Cosafa that his excecutive had secured government backing to host the tournament a claim that later turned out to be false.
“The current Zifa board while taking the punishment didn’t bid for hosting the tournament and equally its efforts to escape the potential censure through hosting was equally denied by the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation,” the association said in a statement.
“It is important that the public appreciates that Zifa is therefore being punished for crimes committed by other parties. Zifa made a commitment to host the regional tournament last year, a decision that was taken by the association’s previous executive committee, led by Phillip Chiyangwa who is ironically the regional body’s president.”
The Zifa board, which held a meeting in Harare on Friday, said it will therefore on this basis continue to push for Chiyangwa’s ouster as Cosafa president.
“The executive committee adopted a resolution by the emergency committee of moving the motion to revoke the presidency of Dr Phillip Chiyangwa at Cosafa and noted that contrary to widely circulated reports that sought to portray a scenario where the Zifa’s case was thrown out, the association is in receipt of correspondence from Cosafa which shows the matter is still alive,” the statement read in part.
Zifa said the country’s national women’s side and its Under-20 teams will participate in this year’s Cosafa tournaments which kick off in South Africa next week despite reports that they are considering pulling out of the 16-member regional organisation and joining the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa).
“Zifa is still engaging and will soon come up with its official position regarding this matter. Key to this decision is whether Zifa will in future be partaking in the Cosafa competitions or the association shall concentrate on development of our local, CAF and FIFA competitions.
“Zifa wishes to inform the sports loving people that it will however go ahead and send its Senior Women and U-20 Women teams to this year editions of Cosafa since the teams have already begun preparations. Zifa is however mindful of the role the Cosafa president is playing to push for the ban on his country of origin from Cosafa for a crime he individually committed through making an unauthorised bid to host in 2018competition,” Zifa said.
No comment could be obtained from Chiyangwa.