The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has appealed to players and fans to be patient with authorities as they implement measures to eradicate the various challenges bedevilling local football.
This comes after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) expelled the Warriors from the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers which start next month.
Early this year, FIFA suspended Zimbabwe from international football due to Government interference in ZIFA matters, after the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) dissolved the ZIFA board.
In a statement, ZIFA acting president Gift Banda said it is crucial to address the problems within local football rather than prioritising international tournaments. Said, Banda:
We feel the pain of the fans, and our players, who have found themselves on the sidelines, especially with regards to our absence from the qualifiers for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations finals.
But we also appeal to them to understand and appreciate that for us to prioritise participation in international tournaments, right now, when our house is on shaky ground, will not be beneficial for our football.
I, therefore, appeal for patience and everyone involved in football to let the reform process take its course because, in the end, the mission will be for the benefit of all who are part of our beautiful game.
Crucially, it will be for the benefit of future generations, our next generation of Warriors who, in the previous set-up, have found themselves on the sidelines without being exposed to the international tournaments, of their age groups, to help in their development.
Admittedly, it is painful that our country will, for the first time, not participate in the qualifiers of Africa’s flagship tournament.
But it is of paramount importance to emphasise that there is a myriad of problems bedevilling our beautiful game and authorities have embarked on firm corrective measures to reform the game.
These fundamental and deep-seated problems require the concerted efforts of all stakeholders in order to resolve them.