13 April 2019

Zimbabwe: ZIFA to Wait Longer for Cosafa Fate

ZIFA will have to wait a little longer before they know the outcome of their disciplinary hearing at COSAFA after it emerged yesterday that the regional football body were only likely to make a determination next week. Acting vice president Philemon Machana led a three-member delegation, which included chief executive Joseph Mamutse and lawyer Chenaimoyo Gumiro that represented the association at the hearing in Johannesburg on Thursday afternoon.

Gumiro told The Herald yesterday ZIFA made their oral presentation to the COSAFA disciplinary board and they will also make a written submission of their case.

"The COSAFA matter is still on-going. We made oral arguments and now we are doing the written submissions. COSAFA are to file today (yesterday) and we will respond next week.

"Thereafter, a ruling will be made and we will be notified of the date of ruling," Gumiro said.

ZIFA could be handed a fine of up to US$1 million, the heaviest financial punishment slapped on the country's football controlling body, should they be found to have breached the agreement to host this year's COSAFA Cup senior men's tournament.

Although COSAFA had initially indicated that judgment could be handed down within 48 hours of the hearing, it has emerged that the ruling could come towards the end of next week.

'The venue for the 2019 edition of the COSAFA Cup, scheduled from May 25 to June 8 was left undecided after ZIFA failed to secure government backing to host the tournament."

It is COSAFA's argument that "ZIFA is now in breach of their Hosting Agreement, signed by ZIFA late in January 2019, and returned to COSAFA".

The regional football body said the uncertainty over the hosting of the tournament had come at a wrong time, given the importance which the nations, which have qualified for the 2019 AFCON tourney, had attached to the event, with all of them hoping to use it to prepare for the Nations Cup finals.

"For the first time in 21 years, five COSAFA member countries have qualified to participate in the continental show-piece, including Zimbabwe's celebrated Warriors," the regional body said.

Meanwhile, the ZIFA disciplinary hearing for suspended vice-president Gift Banda suffered another still birth after it was deferred again, this time on a fresh technicality.

The disciplinary committee had convened in Harare yesterday after having been deferred last week.

Gumiro said Banda's defence team was questioning the jurisdiction of the disciplinary committee to hear his case.

"The Banda matter was also deferred. We are to file our response next week to their preliminary issue on whether or not the disciplinary committee has jurisdiction.

"They will file their replication by 29 April and ruling will be on 10 May on the preliminary issue depending on the ruling we then do submission on the merits of the matter," Gumiro said.

The latest postponement could, however, impact the April 27 ZIFA Congress indaba where it was expected that the matter would be taken for ratification by the councillors.

Gumiro, however, said he did not foresee any problems arising at the ZIFA Congress.

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