FIFA lifts ban but Zimbabwe not out of the woods


FIFA lifted the Zimbabwe Warriors' ban from international competitions.

from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Bureau
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE lifting of a suspension on the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) by the world body governing the beautiful game ends an ugly spat raging for around 18 months.

Coming days before the draw for the qualifiers of the 2026 World Cup, the lifting of the ban by the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) offers Zimbabwean football an opportunity to make up for time lost in the sidelines after FIFA cracked the whip on interference by the government.

FIFA announced the lifting of the suspension late on Monday, almost a year-and-a-half after the Swiss-based mother body expelled the beleaguered affiliate.

In late February 2022, the FIFA Council decided to suspend the ZIFA due to “flagrant violations of the FIFA Statutes.”

No matter how justifiable the government’s interference in the football association is, FIFA frowns on such conduct.

The government’s suspension of the ZIFA Board led by its President Felton Kamambo and General Secretary Joseph Mamutse over alleged maladministration riled FIFA.

The lifting of the suspension was based on some conditions, including the reversal of the axing of the ZIFA Board, among other conditions.

The lifting of the ban against ZIFA follows FIFA receiving confirmation the suspension of the ZIFA Board had been rescinded following resolutions passed by the ZIFA Congress in April 2022.

From a legal standpoint, it is no longer possible for Kamambo, fellow board members and Mamutse to resume their positions of leadership at ZIFA, as their terms have now lapsed.

FIFA, alongside the Confederation of African Football (CAF), meanwhile will appoint a normalisation committee for ZIFA.

It is a transitional authority to ensure a handover to the next ZIFA board.

“Finally, the lifting of the suspension imposed on ZIFA and the appointment of a normalisation committee shall take place without prejudice to the ongoing investigations and court proceedings at national level,” FIFA stated through its outgoing Secretary General, Fatma Samoura.

The lifting of the suspension is timely, ahead of Thursdays’ draw for the African qualifiers for the next World Cup, the United 2026, to be jointly hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States.

The next hurdle for Zimbabwe is to have its stadiums in order after CAF banned the country from hosting international matches because of dilapidated infrastructure.

So bad is the situation that in the current Premiership campaign, teams from the capital Harare play their home fixtures out of town as the city has no stadiums meeting league requirements.

The decaying venues include the 80 000-seater National Sports Stadium that has hosted the national teams since opening in 1987.

Condemned to pariah status, Zimbabwe last played an international fixture on January 18, 2022 at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon. They beat Guinea 2-1 in that encounter but the result was inconsequential as they finished bottom of the group.

The FIFA ban disqualified the Warriors from the qualifiers for the 2023 edition of the tourney, where they were drawn in a group also featuring Liberia, Morocco and neighbouring South Africa.

Inaction has left Zimbabwe languishing at 33rd (out of 54) in Africa and 124th in the world.

– CAJ News


















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