The news that FIFA suspended Zimbabwe from international football has attracted varying responses from Zimbabweans and football lovers.
FIFA wrote to the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) on 24 February 2022 notifying the association that it had been suspended with immediate effect, until further notice, for government interference in the sport. This was after the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) had suspended the ZIFA board led by Felton Kamambo.
In a letter published earlier by Pindula News, FIFA said ZIFA representatives and club teams are no longer entitled to take part in international competitions until the suspension is lifted.
In response to the suspension, Fadzayi Mahere, the national spokesperson of the newly-formed Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) had no kind words for the government and particularly Kirsty Coventry, the Minister of Youth, Sports, and Recreation. She said in a series of Twitter posts:
1. What’s your comment on this?
2. Why is our sport always in a state of chaos and disorder?
3. What steps are you taking to get the suspension lifted?
4. Do you have a Sports Policy at all or is the regime just winging it? We need new leaders.
Soccer – suspended.
Cricket – corruption.
Stadia – banned.
Hockey turf – dilapidated.
Swimming – no Olympic pools.
Chess – underfunded.
Olympics – zero medals.
Schools sport – falling apart.
Grassroots development – none.
We need new leaders.
Rufaro Stadium. This is what happens when a nation is running on autopilot. Zero leadership. We need new leaders.
Mahere appealed to her followers to list the achievements made by the Ministry of Sport since 2018 if there are any.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said, “They know what needs to be done for them to be re-admitted or for the suspension to be lifted.”
Some said the problems manifesting in Zimbabwean football are a reflection of a deep-rooted governance crisis in the country and if it was possible, the country would need a 10-year sabbatical from all forms of sports until all biting issues have been addressed.
Others believe ten years are not enough.