Does the Normalisation Committee deserve term extension?

Zifa normalisation committee chairperson Lincolm Mutasa

Over the years, Zimbabwe's former football stars have been crying that former footballers were being sidelined in the running of the Zimbabwean game at Zifa level.

Local football legends were unanimous in their agreement that for Zimbabwean football to move forward, it needed people who had served the game at the highest level on the field of play.

This was after experiments with businessmen, dealers, and company executives all helped to bring more problems into the Zimbabwean game rather than the expected milk and honey.

As the drastic flip flop went beyond estimations, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) saw it fit and jumped in to suspend a Zifa leadership headed by company executive Felton Kamambo.

Fifa then stepped in and appointed a committee led by former Dynamos defender Lincoln Mutasa and included two other former football stalwarts, Rosemary Mugadza and Sikhumbuzo Ndebele.

This development was greeted with celebrations all over the country that at least our football would have some form of direction because of Mutasa, Mugadza, and Ndebele's experience as players.

However, eight-months down the line, former footballers and the football family at large feel betrayed as most of what the Zifa Normalisation Committee has touched has not brought the anticipated joy.

The appointment of national team coaches is being done haphazardly, the Zifa election roadmap has been abandoned, national team selection is now being done by someone at Zifa House and not by the coaches, football development at district and area zone level remains where it was in June 2023 and the NC itself has even strayed into areas which are not within their jurisdiction

In fact, the sentiments flying all over our football are that the Mutasa reign is worse than that of Kamambo and that assertion seems to be coming from the majority in our football.

One football analyst even jokingly pointed out that what athlete Ashley Kamangirira did in clearing 100m hurdles in under 14 seconds to get bronze at the Africa Games is more than what the NC has done in their eight months of existence.

Surely, had it not been for the Malawian overtures for the four-team invitational tournament, the Warriors could have been sitting at home as the Normalisation Committee had failed to come up with a friendly match for the Warriors during this period of Fifa international friendlies.

Surely, when a national football controlling body cannot organise a single friendly match for its own national team, then that is what we call failure in any sporting language.

Some contend that the 'best' the NC have done over their period is to change the name of the Zimbabwe Women Soccer League to the Zimbabwe Women's Premier Soccer League and to appoint an interim committee instead of creating a platform for the holding of elections of a new ZWSL leadership.

In fact, since July 11, 2023, the Normalisation Committee has done nothing in terms of fulfilling its biggest assignment which was of installing a new Zifa leadership by June 30, and the merry-go-around Zimbabwe distributing donations of balls and kits from Fifa is seen as a cover up of their failure to set up Zifa structures in districts, provinces, and Area Zones in preparation for the elections.

In fact, the NC are lobbying if not clamouring for an extension of their term in office by another year so that they sort out the issue of regions, provinces, districts, and zones, before they can call for Zifa board elections.

Yet they have been going off rail by taking jobs which are not theirs including that of the National Association of Primary School Headmasters and that of the National Association of Secondary School Headmasters during the Caf Schools Soccer Tournament.

Even up to now Nash and Naph do not know where the team that represented Zimbabwe at the Caf Schools Soccer Tournament came from and neither do they have an idea who team coach Norman Taruvinga is.

What, however, is evidently clear is that these Young Warriors coaches are being handpicked with no set out criteria for consideration and no job interviews carried out all for reasons best known by the appointing authority.

Some might recall that we had all national team coaching positions advertised in October 2023 and five months down the line nobody has heard anything as to what happened to the applications apart from the fact that Simon Marange and Backyfield Chivenga were imported from South Africa to handle the Under-20 side.

It will surely not be long before we are bombarded with news of the appointment of dubious coaches for the Warriors and Zimbabwe Under-17 team just a few days before a big match or a big tournament.

Surely, we raised our voices and accused Kamambo of extending favours to his relatives, neighbours, friends, and church members and now the eyes do not seem to see and the ears do not seem to hear when the drum close-by is sounding even louder than before.

The big question we should be asking ourselves is whether Zimbabwe needs the Normalisation Committee beyond June 30 or that they have abnormalised enough and must go.

However, one thing we have learnt from the circus that is going on is that it is not being a former footballer that makes one a good football leader, but one with love and passion for the game.

As the NC enjoy their fun in the sun they should not forget that Zimbabwe needs a venue closer to home in its next home World Cup Qualifier against Lesotho rather than another journey to Rwanda.

Surely, the next thing we don’t want to hear is that "We failed to secure an alternative venue in Botswana, Zambia, or South Africa and we are thinking of going back to Rwanda." — That would provoke anger.

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