BY HENRY MHARA
Zifa have said they will attend the Cosafa annual general meeting set for South Africa at the weekend, despite the regional football governing body earlier this week barring the association from attending the congress.
Cosafa on Tuesday wrote to Zifa advising them that they will not be allowed to attend the meeting set for Saturday at the Southern Sun OR Tambo Hotel in Johannesburg, because they are not in good standing due to non-payment of annual subscriptions.
Cosafa secretary-general Sue Destombes said in the letter that she had been advised by the body’s emergency committee that Zifa owed some monies, and as such they were not eligible for the indaba.
However, the Felton Kamambo-led Zifa are adamant that they will attend the meeting. In their response to Cosafa, the local football mother body claimed that the statutes that Cosafa are using to bar them are non-existent.
“The decision is alleged to have been made by the Emergency Committee of Cosafa. A reading of the Cosafa statutes will reveal that such a committee is non-existent. Article 10 and Article 11 provide for the establishment of the executive committee and the duties and powers of the executive committee. There is no provision creating the emergency committee of Cosafa. As such the alleged decision was made by a non-existent committee of Cosafa. It is a nullity and will accordingly be ignored with the contempt it deserves,” read part of the letter by Zifa general secretary Joseph Mamutse.
The association claims that they made a payment plan to service the debt, after they asked Fifa to pay the money direct to Cosafa from the annual grant due to Zimbabwe.
“The said arrangement was approved by Fifa and communication to yourselves was made in that regard. It must be noted that Cosafa concurred with the arrangement. It is therefore misleading to state that Zifa failed to pay its subscription fees to Cosafa. It is further a travesty of justice to seek to suspend Zifa for failure to pay subscriptions while Cosafa is aware that the payment is to be done and that Fifa has made a commitment to pay the required amount.”
Zifa claims that their suspension had nothing to do with the debt, but it is part of a spirited campaign by Cosafa boss Philip Chiyangwa to exclude Zimbabwe from the meeting after they threatened to move a motion to recall him from his position on corruption allegations.
Zifa said the decision to bar or suspend a member association could only be made by the executive committee, which is set to sit on Friday, and needs ratification by the general assembly.
They said even if they had refused to pay the subscription, the Cosafa constitution (article 25.7), allows them to attend the general assembly, but will have their right to vote forfeited in the event that the suspension has been ratified.
“We are of the firm view that the letter of the 20th was motivated by a desire to bar us from attending the general assembly simply on the basis that we have our own issues with the incumbent president (Chiyangwa). The timing of your letter exposes this desire. All along, no demand was ever made to us for the payment alleged. We, therefore, believe that the nature of the letter is just to harass us as an association. We, therefore, advise that we are prepared to make good any payment which is legally due to you. Advise us by return post of such a fee so as to enable us to make arrangements with Fifa that same be remitted to yourself. We, therefore, advise that we shall be attending the general assembly as per our constitutional right.”