Zimbabwe: Cry Our Beloved Football

Isdore Guvamombe — Back in the village, in the proverbial land of milk, honey and dust or Guruve, football was our mainstay; it made life tick and occupied a special place in debates that kept the council of elders ticking.

In the village, elders with cotton tuft hair, would sit before a shrieking radio, listening to football commentary, of course, not on dry throats.

They would drink around it. It was a rallying point.

But, not anymore.

In many countries the world over, football by its nature brings gross national happiness. In Zimbabwe it has been exactly the opposite, it has brought gross national sadness. Chant down Zifa!

This villager, the son of a peasant, is not going to start with Felton Kamambo, for, he is just a small fry who believes he is some supersonic jet, albeit torpedoing into an abyss of self-destructing machoism.

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For some unknown reason Kamambo thinks he is more important than football itself. All and sundry should show him and the gooks around him that national football is about results, about developing a national football philosophy and strategy.

It is not about chicanery. Its not about the fetid stuff.

Over the years Zifa has become a den of small fries, up to no football good. Do village elders not say cow dung naturally attracts flies?

I am a travelled villager. A villager who has watched many big matches on the international scene from Madrid to Brazil and little everywhere else and I was hoping that Sugar Chagonda, whom I travelled with to many countries, would sweeten the football administration and bring in that exposure to the body.

Each time I asked Sugar after getting into the board why his presence was not being felt with all that experience and exposure he gained as we travelled together the world over was not telling, he said in the board were many dimwits.

This is precisely the reason why Sugar was quick to distance himself from the circus in which Kamambo is emerging the chief clown.

Sugar was right. He is still right. Let us start afresh. Let us accept that these guys have failed and we start afresh.

Back in the village, autochthones, those elders who saw the virginity of earth say, a man who goes to sleep with an itchy behind, wakes up with smelly fingers. That should sound good warning to Kamambo and those of his ilk in Zifa. They must smell their fingers.

Village wisdom says we cannot go deeper into the intricacies of the criminal matter because it is before the courts. For that, time is a great teacher.

We, and I mean honorific we, will come back to Kamambo a few paragraphs down the instalment.

Cry our beloved football!

Instead of making the nation happy, united and proud, the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) has become the biggest let down. It is the worst thing that has ever happened to our sporting fraternity.

Suffice to say as a nation we have been very unlucky since as Zifa administration after another plunged our football into a chasm of poor performance, deep-rooted corruption, back-biting, mudslinging and fraud.

Our football association has on many occasions been run by charlatans, some of whom could hardly kick even a stationary ball. They came in to steal our money and got away with murder because Fifa statutes protected them at the expense of the game. Fifa is overprotective and should change it mentality. Soon it will find many nations challenging its mentality.

So badly managed has been our football that our love for the game has been mortgaged to foreign football leagues like the English Premier League (EPL), La Liga, etc. This has become to the fad of our time. The sacrosanctity our nationhood has been destroyed.

We now know other football leagues than we do our own. We are no longer a people but adjuncts of other nations.

We should not start and end with the Kamambo administration. The rot started long back and Kamambo simply fitted into the straitjacket of thuggery that has characterised Zifa administration.

The International Federation of Association Football (Fifa) has suspended Zimbabwe from all international competitions until the Sport and Recreation Commission reinstates Kamambo.

Well, their suspension is a blessing in disguise. It's high time we start afresh. At times you need to divorce to restart your life and enjoy thereafter.

As a nation we are tired of being the laughing stock because of this Zifa. They have played mock-house with our feelings and love for football.

We also want to be successful on the international scene and keeping Kamambo and his executive is not in our national interest. Fifa is moribund, rigid and inconsiderate of our feelings as a people. We cannot keep a failed Zifa in place to please Fifa at our own expense.

We want football to bring back smiles on our faces.

Fifa statutes must be pro-people, they must be people-centric. Football in Zimbabwe is played for the nation not for Fifa. As a country we have to come to terms with the sad reality that we have fail and we should start afresh. It is going to be painful but it must happen.

Suffice to say we have a right to chant down Fifa, if it thinks its statutes are more important than the people of Zimbabwe.

FIFA itself must reform and align its statutes with the reality that no football association operates outside the national governance of its country. Respect for the football fans is sacrosanct and the no sane government should fold hands while funds, referees and players are abused by those protected by Fifa. Government cannot be relevant only when football needs sponsorship from it. Hell No!

For how long are we going to be failing in every tournament because of poor management, corruption ineptitude and carelessness?

We need as a country to sit down, restrategise without Kamambo and company and without most of the dead hood that has brought mediocrity to the beautiful game.

We must never reinstate Kamambo and company. Fifa can suspend us for as long as they want but we must fix our problem.

This is the opportunity we have to fix everything. We need to come up with national guideline of what football we want in the country.

The sad part of that I have watched a show hosted by Charles Mabika again and again and there he has brought some of the finest football brains and discussed critical matters.

Now to think that all that knowledge and those ideas brought up every week have been falling on deaf ears is shocking. You really need to be dull not to get proper guidance from that programme. It is one of the best programmes that have happened to our football.

Kamambo and his board must be excommunicated from Zimbabwe's football until they clear themselves from that litany of charges.

Fifa must be sensitive to our football needs and it seeks being irrelevant in many countries if it continues pitting football associations against Governments. Fifa must know that association operate within countries and those countries are run by Governments. Fifa must not give us the impression that football is an island. NO!

Fifa must allow us to fix our problems and instead of throwing spanners they should help us run our football properly. Football must in the end bring smiles back to our faces.

The current Zifa board is a disgrace to the nation. And those who support it are a disgrace too.

Artmotion S.Africa

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