The Herald (Harare)

1 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Zifa Apologises to Mussa

ZIFA have apologised to former Warriors manager Sharrif Mussa over the unceremonious manner in which they dismissed him from the national team set-up with the association revealing they were eager to re-engage the businessman.

Mussa was sidelined in February when Zifa decided to suspend all players and coaches who had been fingered in the Asiagate scandal and eight months later, they have apologised for their ill-timed and ill-advised decision.

Zifa also used the apology to try and court Mussa to bounce back in the new Warriors dispensation that will be put in place soon in which German mentor Klaus Dieter Pagels will be the caretaker coach.

Although Mussa was never part of the Asiagate match-fixing scam, the timing of his removal from the Warriors coincided with the Zifa announcement that they had restructured the technical department after the suspensions of those implicated.

The Zifa move, which affected more than 90 players, coaches and officials including then Warriors coach Norman Mapeza and his assistant Joey Antipas, torched suspicions that Mussa could have also been sacrificed for the same reasons.

Only veteran goalkeepers' coach Richard Tswatswa and the medical crew of Nick Munyonga and Farai Muguwe were spared the axe in the mid-February reshuffle that ushered in Dynamos committee member Nyika Chifamba as the Warriors manager.

What left further questions is that there was no official reason given by Zifa for their decision to dismiss Mussa at the same time that they suspended those individuals linked to the Asiagate saga.

Mussa, an affable character, who is hugely popular with the national players and coaches, however, tried to set the record straight when he maintained that he had not been removed from the Warriors set up for match-fixing.

Zifa, who are set to install the rest of Pagels' technical department following their disbanding of the Warriors, have, however, written to Mussa through the association's president Cuthbert Dube to offer their apologies over the way his removal was handled. The association also insisted Mussa was free to return to his post in the national teams set-up.

"The Zimbabwe Football Association would like to place on record that your disengagement as team manager for the Zimbabwe senior team in February 2012 had nothing to do with the Asiagate scandal.

"It is regrettable that no formal communication was done in respect of your disengagement as team manager and as an association we profusely apologise for the manner the disengagement may have been handled.

"The Zimbabwe Football Association would like to place on record our deepest and most sincere appreciation for your contribution, dedication and commitment to the senior national team and other teams since 2003.

"You have always been at the association's disposal in terms of servicing the senior national team's needs," Dube said.

The Zifa president, who has had to bail out the cash strapped association, also paid tribute to Mussa for often chipping in with financial and material assistance to the Warriors during their various national assignments.

"The Zimbabwe Football Association would also like to acknowledge the financial and material resources you have rendered to the association's national teams.

"Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Football Association would like to confirm that should opportunities related to your competency skills in the senior national team's new look set up arise, your services will be most welcome and appreciated.

"Once more let me take this opportunity on behalf of the Zimbabwe Football Association board, the entire family of football and on my own personal behalf, thank you for the support you have rendered and continue to render to football in Zimbabwe," Dube said.

Mussa is, however, still to commit himself to an immediate return to the Warriors job amid indications that he been tied up to varying business commitments.

But the Harare businessman, who has a strong passion for football and has worked with such coaches like Charles Mhlauri, Sunday Chidzambwa, Norman Mapeza and Brazilian Valinhos, has also not completely ruled out a return to the fold and have one more flirtation with the Warriors under the Pagels regime.

Zifa's decision to apologise to Mussa is also a refreshing change in approach from the association which has had a worrying knack of acrimoniously parting ways with their employees especially coaches. In fact some of the coaches have dragged Zifa to Fifa and the local courts of law to try and settle their matters with the association.

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