ZIFA vice president challenges suspension; row related to Warriors coaches

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By Sports Reporter

SUSPENDED ZIFA vice-president Gift Banda has vowed to challenge his suspension, describing the association’s executive board meeting which led to his dismissal as unconstitutional.

Banda was suspended last week on allegations of usurping the powers of the Zifa board after “unilaterally” making changes to the Warriors technical department which saw Lloyd Mutasa and Rahman Gumbo being replaced with Bongani Mafu and Tonderayi Ndiraya.

The changes were met with condemnation by fans who argued that they could destabilise the team which is just a point away from qualifying for this year’s Africa Cup of Nations.

The decision, which was made while Zifa president Felton Kamambo was in Senegal for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Awards, was reversed following a meeting of the game’s leaders held last week leading to Banda’s suspension after a vote.

Addressing a press conference in Bulawayo on Thursday, Banda said his suspension was not done above board while also revealing that Kamambo knew about changes to the technical team beforehand.

Banda argues that the emergency board meeting where the decision to suspend him was made, was held in violation of Article 33.3 of the Zifa Constitution

“It is unfortunate that I was suspended at a gathering that wasn’t constitutional,” he said.

“When I was voted into office, I said our responsibility was to live by the football bible which is the Zifa constitution.

“As such the Zifa constitution is the one which should guide the Zifa leadership in its dealings.”

He added: “It must be noted that the reasons for my suspension was that I announced the changes of the senior national team’s when I was acting president of which the president of the association himself was aware of the subject.”

“Prior to his trip to Senegal, Mr Kamambo and myself extensively deliberated on the changes and some of the board members were aware of this. How the president flip flop to say he was in the dark surprises me.

The decision I made on behalf of the association as the acting president was never meant to bring the game of football into disrepute but were made in good faith.”

Banda also expressed his concern over the decision to suspend him in the absence of relevant judicial bodies such as the Zifa disciplinary committee.

He said his suspension was unconstitutional, adding that the decisions he made could have simply been reversed without suspending him.

 “I believe I’m a victim of upholding principles of governance and my suspension was well calculated as it happened after I had expressed my reservations on how the association was dealing with Fifa funds,” he said.

Banda argued that his move to announce changes to the national teams’ technical committees was done above board.

“And besides, Article 34 (k) says the Zifa executive committee shall appoint the coaches for the representative team and other technical staff. It does not specifically say how many board members can make such a decision. It also doesn’t provide a framework of the sanctions that should be applied in the event of transgressions in this area,” Banda said.

If the board felt the decision wasn’t right, they could have reversed it. What surprises me is that the animosity arose after Zifa received funds from Fifa in December.

“The board was supposed to decide how the funds were supposed to be used of distributed. How the funds were used and distributed is a story for another day, but I refuse to have my image tainted by operating outside the legal framework of using Zifa funds outside the open market.

“I believe what has happened to me is not only a clear violation of the constitution and disrespect to the councillors who untrusted us with mandate to serve football but spat in the fame to those who believe abiding by the constitution.”

Banda’s suspension was due be ratified at the Zifa congress which is slated for March, but the former said he has since made Caf and Fifa aware of his concerns.