By Canisius Mushibwe
The Zimbabwe soccer team could miss out on a FIFA funded stadium and developmental projects after alleged Government interference in the running of the country’s FA (ZIFA).
Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) recently decided to dissolve the ZIFA executive board On allegations of the failure to account for US$53,000 obtained from the government towards the team’s participation at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt.
Zimbabwe’s sports regulator said a normalisation committee to replace the outgoing board will be announced soon.
However, this development could be viewed as government interference which could see the Southern African team penalised by the world football governing body, including being banned from international football events.
This is because FIFA does not take lightly any third-party intervention in the running of its member associations.
Apart from being isolated from competing at any FIFA and CAF event, Zimbabwe could also lose out on football infrastructure development that is meant to benefit every African country at the cost of the world governing body.
Under the Project African Football, FIFA last year revealed its plans to make solid and sustainable infrastructural investments in the continent at an estimated value of US$1bn dollars.
The football governing body said they were mobilising funds to construct at least one top stadium in 54 countries of Africa.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said this during a seminar in Morocco last year.
“In the countries where there is already at least one very good stadium, the investments can be done in other infrastructures,” Infantino said.
Infantino added that he wants football in the continent to thrive and will work with CAF and various stakeholders to improve refereeing and soccer competitions in Africa.
It is reported that FIFA may have already mobilised the resources to kickstart the project, scheduled to start next year with priority given to countries such as Zimbabwe that do not have a stadium of international standards requirements.
Furthermore, Zimbabwe National Sports Stadium was recently barred from hosting international matches until it meets the minimum requirements given by CAF. Clearly, if FIFA decides to withdraw its support, the country will be at a huge loss.