Big week for Zim football as Fifa visits again

Zimbabwe football national team

FIFA is set to send another delegation to Zimbabwe tomorrow to finalise the appointment of a normalisation committee to run the affairs of the local football mother body, Zifa, as the country edges closer to a return to international football, StandardSport has learnt.

While no confirmation could be obtained from both Fifa and the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), sources told StandardSport that another high-powered delegation from the world football governing body will be in the country this week.

The imminent visit by the Fifa delegation, which is the second in two months, comes a few days before the Bureau of the Fifa Council is scheduled to meet later this week.

Fifa is yet to announce the agenda for its next Fifa Council meeting but it is expected to be released this week, with Zimbabwe set to be on the agenda.

The Fifa Council is the main decision making body of the organisation in the intervals of Fifa Congress.

“Fifa will be in the country on Monday to finalise the normalisation committee ahead of the Fifa council meeting later in the week to review Zimbabwe’s suspension. This follows consultations earlier in April with the SRC which included Caf,” said the source.

This week’s visit comes on the back of a positive fact-finding mission in April by the Fifa delegation consisting of Zimbabwean national Solomon Mudege, who is Fifa’s head of development programmes Africa, regional development officer David Fani and senior governance service manager Sarah Solémalé.

The continental football governing body, Caf, was also represented during the three-day fact-finding mission where they held important meetings with representatives from the Premier Soccer League, the Footballers' Union of Zimbabwe and other key stakeholders, in a bid to gather facts on the ground and find a lasting solution to problems bedeviling Zimbabwean football.

It was during the initial visit where Fifa resolved to set up a normalisation committee to run the affairs of Zifa in the lead up to fresh elections and ultimately the lifting of the suspension by the world football body.

A normalisation committee usually consists of members who will be appointed jointly by Fifa and Caf, subject to an eligibility check carried out by the Fifa Review Committee in accordance with the Fifa governance regulations.

Zimbabwe has not participated in international competitions for the last 16 months following the country’s suspension for what was termed ‘third party interference’ by Fifa in the wake of the decision by the SRC to suspend the Felton Kamambo-led Zifa board.

The Gerald Mlotshwa-led SRC wielded the axe on the Kamambo-led administration for several violations, chief among them sexual harassment of female referees and failure to account for public funds.

However, Fifa are expected to come to the rescue of Zimbabwe's World Cup hopes as the African draw of the competition draws close.

Caf has set July 12 in Cotonou, Benin, the night before the 45th Caf ordinary general assembly as the date for the World Cup draw.

It is understood that Fifa, Caf and Cosafa delegations who visited Zimbabwe on a fact-finding mission were keen on the lifting of the country's suspension before the crucial draw.

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