BY HENRY MHARA

FORMER Caps United administrator Paddington Japajapa has threatened to mobilize football fans to protest the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) if they do not reinstate Zifa’s suspended board.

On November 16, the SRC suspended the board of directors headed by Felton Kamambo after making several allegations, including embezzlement of public funds, accusations the board refutes.

FIFA refused to approve the SRC’s decision, however, due to lack of evidence, and world football’s governing body on Tuesday ordered the sports regulator to reinstate Kamambo and his team.

Fifa has given the SRC until January 3 to lift the suspension or the country isolates itself from international football.

Such isolation will prevent the Warriors from participating in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) which begins on January 9 in Cameroon.

Pressure is beginning to mount on the SRC board headed by Gerald Mlotshwa to reverse its decision following FIFA’s rebuttal.

Japajapa, former Caps United public relations manager and former executive member of Zimbabwe’s National Soccer Supporters Association, says Zimbabweans cannot be deprived of watching their national team at Afcon due to a “selfish decision” and warned Mlotshwa to “stop messing around with our football.

“Millions of soccer-loving Zimbabweans cannot be prejudiced by their constitutional right to watch their beloved national soccer team play the Afcon final,” said Japajapa, who is now president of a society organization. called Zimbabwe Center for Equal Opportunities (ZCEO).

Fifa also demanded that the SRC disband the nine-member Zifa restructuring committee they announced last week, apparently to review the domestic game.

“As Zimbabweans, we cannot allow our beautiful football game to be destroyed by a group of misguided SRC board members who use their political connections to ban Zifa board members,” Japajapa warned.

He said the allegations against the ZIFA board are all criminal in nature and the SRC should have reported the cases to law enforcement officers and let the law run its course, instead of dissolving it. the executive committee.

“As ZCEO, we are calling for the immediate revocation of the CBC ban on the executive led by Felton Kamambo and the immediate restoration of the board to its previous status quo. We cannot afford to be abused and exploited by Gerald Mlotshwa because of his connections to the First Family.

“Failure to lift the illegal and unlawful ban on Zifa’s board of directors by the misguided rags group at SRC means we will have no options.”

“As Zimbabweans who wish to see our national football team participate in the CAN finals, we will seek permission under the law and order to demonstrate against these members of the SRC board. so that they can resign and leave their functions.

“Most of the misguided SRC board members have never played football since childhood, so they don’t know anything about football administration.”

The SRC has yet to respond to Fifa’s ultimatum, but when Zifa’s executive committee was suspended last month, Mlotshwa said he was fully aware of the consequences.

Here’s what Zimbabwean football would lose if Fifa banned the country:

  • Zimbabwe will not be able to participate in international matches organized by Fifa and CAF. This means the Warriors will be disqualified from next year’s Afcon Finals.
  • The Mighty Warriors who are tied against Botswana in qualifying for the women’s CAN final will also be disqualified. The matches will be played in February.
  • Local clubs will not play the Caf Champions League and the Confederations Cup.
  • There will be no international transfers, which means Zimbabwean players playing in the local league cannot move abroad.
  • Players based abroad will still be able to renew their contracts but will not be able to move to another country when their contract expires.
  • Fifa’s sanctions would also see the world governing body shutting down financial gangs on Zimbabwe, which has been the heart of Zifa and local football.
  • Local referees will also be prohibited from taking part in international missions and participating in seminars organized by the body and CAF.
  • The country will lack representation in regional and international conventions and no Zimbabwean will be able to claim a position within FIFA and CAF or its affiliated organizations like Cosafa.
  • The country could also lose a Fifa-funded stadium that the organization intends to build in every African country.

As part of its African Football project, the world governing body last year announced its intention to make strong and sustainable infrastructure investments in Africa worth $ 1 billion.

“We are developing a proposal to mobilize 1 billion US dollars to build at least one leading stadium in the countries of each of the 54 member associations of Fifa and CAF,” said FIFA president Gianni Infantino during a seminar organized in Morocco last year and attended by delegates from each of CAF’s 54 member associations. “In countries where there is already at least one very good stadium, investments can be made in other infrastructures.

Fifa said they have already raised the funds and the project is expected to start next year with countries like Zimbabwe, which do not have a stadium meeting international standards, which should be given priority.

The National Sports Stadium, the only stadium in the country that hosted international soccer matches, has since been banned until it is renovated to meet minimum standards required by CAF.

The CBC, which is in charge of the stadium, has failed to install bucket seats and electronic turnstiles, nor to set up a site operations center.

The media center they have installed at the stadium is of inferior quality.

Zimbabwe has already lost opportunities to build Fifa-funded infrastructure as part of its Goal Fifa project initiative.

The Fifa Goal Project is a Fifa initiative to help countries around the world build their own “Home of Football” and technical facilities for the development and continued progression of football activities.

While Zifa managed to build Zifa Village as part of the initiative, he missed five other opportunities of a similar magnitude because the association was not in good standing with Fifa.

The two organizations were starting to find each other and Fifa recently helped Zifa acquire two conventional buses for national teams.

Other countries on the continent, for example, South Africa maximized the opportunity of the Goal project and built Safa headquarters, a restaurant, 52 football pitches, one in each region of Safa, with clubs with changing rooms. , sanitary facilities, perimeter fencing and drive lights.

Safa also owns the Fun Valley Project, a complex acquired and transformed into a world-class technical center using Fifa resources.