The Federation of International Football (FIFA) on Tuesday lifted its ban on Zimbabwe from
participating in world tournaments, bringing joy and relief to the soccer mad southern African
country. This was announced by Sport, Arts and Culture Minister, Kirsty Coventry at a press
The ban was imposed over a year ago after what Fifa viewed as government interference in the
administration of the sport. It followed a government-sanctioned dissolution of an elected national
football body, the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) – which is an affiliate of Fifa.
A four-member team has been appointed to run the affairs of ZIFA in the interim for 12 months.
Coventry said government action was taken in the interest of football and expected the sport to
emerge stronger and better run from the experience.
“We had to make hard decisions to make sure we were making the correct decisions for all
stakeholders. The way in which our football was running was heavily dependent on what the
administrators wanted and only for their benefit and we had to make that hard decision (to
intervene) and say enough is enough. She thanked President Emmerson Mnangagwa for not
standing in the way of the decisions that the Ministry took,” she said.
“I remember walking into his Excellency’s office and I sat down and shared all that was happening (at
ZIFA). I also made it clear to him of the consequences that we faced as a country (for intervening). I
didn’t know what his reaction would be because we know that soccer has a very special part to play
across African politics around the continent,” Coventry said.
“I want to personally thank him for not hesitating as he said ‘clean it up, it’s time’. That was
extremely brave and it gave me the support that I also gave to the SRC (Sport and Recreation
Commission) knowing that it was unwavering and knowing it was time to turn a corner and get back
to being one of the best soccer nations in the world,” she said. She expressed optimism in support
from local soccer fans and other stakeholders and said the rot that had engulfed the previous ZIFA
administration should not be allowed to return.
The four-member normalization committee, unveiled by FIFA Head of development programs in
Africa Solomon Mudege, is expected to run ZIFA affairs until June 2024 when a new board is to be
elected into office.
The committee comprises chairperson Lincon Mutasa, who has vast knowledge of Zimbabwean
football, former Highlanders player Sikhumbuzo Ndebele, former national women soccer team
player and coach Rosemary Mugadza and lawyer Nyasha Sanyamandu.
The committee is mandated to run the daily affairs of ZIFA and restructure its administration, to
establish on behalf of FIFA a collaboration agreement between the Ministry of Sport, the SRC and
ZIFA which will define the responsibilities and objectives of each party. It will also be expected to
review ZIFA statutes and electoral code to ensure they comply with the FIFA statutes and
requirements and ensure their adoption at a ZIFA congress.
The committee will also act as an electoral committee in order to organize and conduct elections of
a new ZIFA board based on the newly aligned ZIFA statutes and electoral code while also ensuring a
proper financial handover to the new board.