Sports minister Kirsty Coventry has spoken for the first time since world football governing body FIFA banned Zimbabwe from all international competitions citing government interference in the running of the game.
Below is the full statement released by the former Olympic champion;
To my fellow Zimbabweans who love their football
I know some of you are angry, some of you agree with the steps taken and some of you are in
I also know, we have unwavering love for all things football. We love how it brings us together;
we see it through out our communities, all ages playing; we love that it brings us hope and
makes us proud.
Has our football given us these things in the past few years?
Has it made us proud?
Has it brought us Hope?
Has it unified us?
Has it opened opportunities for our players and our youth to dream big and make successful
These are some of the questions I asked myself two years ago, when this ZIFA SAGA yet again
plagued our Country. The Board in and out of court for different reasons, the continuous
allegations of bribery and corruption, the new allegations of sexual harassment and abuse of
When will this stop?
When will we have true leaders in soccer, whose momentum is to drive our beloved sport
forward? To develop opportunities for our young boys and girls to have the opportunity to
share their talents with the world? When will we read headlines about the good that ZIFA is
doing and not the bad that they are into?
How do we fix this? How do we find common ground with CAF and FIFA? How do we respect
the sovereign laws of Zimbabwe while respecting the CAF and FIFA statutes?
This is what the SRC have been doing for the last two years. They requested to engage with
CAF and FIFA as the governing bodies of soccer for the continent and Globe. They did this
knowing and respecting the constitutions of the two. In the series of communications SRC
gave a full briefing to both organs of the allegations, outstanding court cases and frustrations
and requested for some assistance on how best to move forward.
The reason for this request, was simple; we LOVE FOOTBALL, we know the huge talent we
have and want to give our players an opportunity to shine.
These communications have brought us to today;
1. After nearly two years of communication, we have seen no change; the board are still in and
out of court fighting charges of corruption, bribery, and now new allegations and cases of
sexual harassment and abuse of power.
2. SRC suspended the ZIFA Board and Secretary General last year.
3. More communication with both bodies after the suspension of the Board and Secretary
4. Suspension of ZIFA from FIFA due to 3rd party “interference”.
So, what happened and what’s next
During these calls and emails, it became very clear of two points:
1. FIFA and CAF must uphold their constitutions and this for them is not negotiable;
2. SRC must to do its job to protect and serve our athletes and in doing that will not re-instate
alleged sexual predators and individuals fighting legal court cases
Part of our new ethos and what you will see in the Zimbabwe Sport Integrity Bill being
formulated now, is reference made to Good Corporate Governance. A part of this bill will
require all sporting bodies to uphold the integrity of our nation’s sport. What does this mean?
Well, in any business or, governing bodies, or even foundations and NGOs members are
required to uphold the values and ethos of these bodies and at no point put them into
disrepute. If a member does bring the organisation into reputational queries the member is
normally requested to step aside and deal with their issues before readmitted. This is done to
protect the organisation, to protect their stakeholders.
So why I am talking about this now? Well, firstly this was never done in the case of…