Why Zifa snubbed prophet Walter Magaya’s Heart Stadium commissioning: Details emerge


The Zifa Normalisation Committee (NC) has finally shed light on their decision to decline an invitation to the commissioning ceremony of PHD Ministries founder Walter Magaya’s Heart Stadium last month. This disclosure came during a highly anticipated press conference held in Harare on Friday.

The NC, appointed by Fifa in July last year following Zimbabwe’s suspension from international football, had been entrusted with the task of managing Zifa’s daily affairs, restructuring the administration, reviewing statutes and electoral code, and organizing elections for a new Zifa board. With a deadline of June 30, 2024, the committee aims to fulfill its obligations within the stipulated time, despite falling behind schedule.

During the press conference, the NC addressed various issues that have marked their tenure, including rumours of seeking an extension of their mandate beyond June 30. However, their most notable explanation revolved around their absence from Magaya’s stadium commissioning event, which was graced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

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NC Chairperson Lincoln Mutasa clarified the circumstances, stating, “We got the invite on the 8th of December and the commissioning was supposed to be on the 10th of December. I was on my way to Morocco for the awards, my vice chairperson was on family business in South Africa, Madam Ros (Mugadza) was in Bulawayo because her father was not well and Nyasha went on family business,” NC chairperson Lincoln Mutasa told journalists.

“When this invite came all our NC members had been pre-booked on a number of things and we had gone on four to five weeks on football business nonstop so when it came we had no choice, but to write to Prophet Magaya that we were not able to attend,” he said.

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Speaking on the subject of Baltermar Brito’s appointment as Warriors coach last year, Mutasa said the Portuguese coach was roped in because of his qualifications rather than his track record.

“What helped us to come to that conclusion was the issue of Caf A, Caf B licenses. Most of our local coaches we wanted to call upon did not have the Caf A licenses, and could not sit for Caf-sanctioned matches. So that we didn’t have any embarrassment when we played Rwanda or Nigeria we settled for a coach whose qualifications were not in doubt. It was not about whether he had coached in Africa or not, but we wanted to be compliant.

“We don’t look upon it as a failure at all, we felt we stirred the country in the right path and there was no embarrassment with our coach being asked not to sit on the bench as the game was played,” he said.

The commitee revealed that they were in the process of recruiting a new coach, preferably a local one whose identity will be known in a few weeks’ time.

Dynamos’ coach Genesis Mangombe, who was one of Brito’s assistants, is tipped to take over for the upcoming Afcon and World Cup qualifiers later this year.

Currently the NC is also seized with the formulation of the committee that will review the constitution and electoral code to pave way for fresh election which will usher in a new Zifa congress.

Mutasa said while that process is in motion, regional elections are imminent.

“The compliancy doesn’t stop the elections. In fact, I think very soon we will start having the regional elections. “Everything that constitutes the congress is going to start taking place, so clearly once we go down that road it means we have actually started the journey to hold elections,” he said.

“The journey ends when we have constituted the congress and we have agreed as a committee that this is what we want from Zifa and this is how we are going forward.”

The NC chairperson also dismissed reports that they want ed to have their mandate timeline extended beyond June 30.

“We are hopeful that we will meet our mandate target dates. We now have a roadmap that we have come up with and it’s targeted for us to finish within the next coming months, but the person who has the decision to extend or not to extend is really Fifa, it’s not us. I think Fifa are ones who can say now you are fully compliant.

“As it is there are a number of areas that we need to be fully compliant both with Fifa and even locally with the SRC. With the two three years of Covid-19 and suspension a lot of things have not been compliant, which we are now working to address.

“If we can address them as quickly as yesterday it will be good, but some of them might take slightly longer but it is our hope and wish that we bring back normalcy (to football) as soon as possible,” he said.

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