Gerald Mlotshwa, the chairman of the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), has vowed that corrupt officials or social miscreants will never have control over football in Zimbabwe again.
Speaking on Tuesday this week in the capital Harare at the unveiling of the normalisation committee to manage ZIFA’s affairs, Mlotshwa said the endurance has been in pain.
FIFA unveiled a four-member normalisation committee chaired by former Dynamos player and board chairman, Lincon Mutasa who will be assisted by former Mighty Warriors player and coach Rosemary Mugadza, ex-Highlanders player Sikumbuzo Ndebele, and lawyer Nyasha Sanyamandwe.
The normalization committee was established this week after Zimbabwe’s suspension from international football was lifted on Monday.
“Never again should our football become a victim of unscrupulous administrators and societal miscreants, driven by self-centeredness and egotism as has been the case over the years,” SRC board chairman Gerald Mlotshwa said.
He added: “The SRC wishes to express its gratitude for the patience and understanding exhibited by all genuine stakeholders in football.
“We are acutely cognisant of the inconvenience, pain, and frustration that the suspension from international football has elicited.
“Your endurance has not been in vain. Today marks the genesis of a golden era for Zimbabwean football.
“Please accompany us for the remainder of this journey. It promises to be exhilarating, rewarding, and fulfilling.”
Mlotshwa expressed appreciation for the assistance that CAF and FIFA provided.
“The SRC wishes to extend its sincere appreciation to FIFA and CAF.
Ever since the suspension of ZIFA’s Executive Committee by the SRC, we have been engaged in relentless dialogue.
“Many doubted the feasibility or authenticity of such an endeavor.
Our presence here today (Tuesday), however, stands as a testament to this fact.
The vigorous debates we engaged in to devise solutions for ZIFA’s troubles never lost sight of our respective statutes and the need for their adherence in fulfilling our responsibilities.”
Solomon Mudenge, the head of FIFA’s development programs, stated that FIFA will always support Zimbabwe.
“It has been a long and winding road. But, I am here to announce the lifting of the suspension of ZIFA.
What I do want to assure you is the full support of FIFA, CAF and COSAFA.“Create a viable career option for young Zimbabweans, A viable football industry. Being Zimbabwean I know a lot of people have commented on that .
Kirsty Coventry, the Minister of Youth, Sport, Art, and Recreation, claimed that lifting Zimbabwe’s suspension required a lot of good faith.
“We now have the normalisation committee in place. I would like to thank FIFA and CAF for being open over the last year and a half to better understand the situation on the ground.
This did not happen overnight. It took a lot of faith, and good faith and good will on both sides and have been open to that. I want to thank them for giving guidance. I want to thank them for seeing the value in which we bring to the table as Zimbabweans,” Coventry said.
She added: “Soccer is our heartbeat and many of you judged us harshly for the decision we took. But, we had to make hard decisions, doing the best for our stakeholders.
“The way our soccer was running was dependent on what our administrators wanted and only for their benefit.
A year ago when we made the hard decision, I want to make a revelation.
“I remember walking into His Excellency (President Emmerson Mnangagwa)’s office and sitting down and I had to share with him that once we made that decision where it’s gonna take us. I didn’t know what his reaction would be. We know that soccer has a very special part to play across politics even around the continent.
“But, I want to personally thank him for not even hesitating. As soon as I finished my last sentence to say this could lead to our suspension, he turned around and said to clean it up. It’s time. And I want to thank him for that because he was extremely brave and gave me the support that I gave to the SRC because there was unwavering support from His Excellency.”
The chairman of the normalisation committee, Mutasa, said that Zimbabwe’s suspension was painful and urged cooperation to help local football out of its plight.
“It (the suspension) was hurting not only the sports people but ourselves and all the sports parents in the country as we tried to get our kids to excel in sports.
I want to thank the parties involved for finding each other.
I feel confident that we will be able to work together as a team. I want to highlight one thing. We are a team and the secret behind any success is teamwork,” Mutasa said.