Home » Sports » ’Our Zifa CEO Is Now Toxic’ [column]

Dear Colleagues

I TRUST I find you well.

I, unfortunately, am not well.

In fact, I am disappointed, dejected and crestfallen.

Gentlemen, I am writing this open letter as a female board member, the only woman on our eight-member board.

Colleagues, I am writing this Open Letter because I can no longer remain silent as a woman elected to articulate issues to help develop women’s football in our country.

I have been silent for too long.

I kept quiet and allowed the matter to pass when the ZIFA chief executive officer, our employee, viciously attacked me in a board meeting last year.

Then, he accused me of being ignorant about football matters.

He further accused me of “being out to get him”.

Remember none of you came to my rescue.

You allowed it to pass.

Emboldened by your silence, he took his gendered-denigration of my person one notch up, when he described women’s football issues as “petty.”

Again, you buried your heads in the proverbial sands.

You did not say a word, when Mashingaidze’s subordinates beat up my driver and tore his shirt before the Zambia qualifier match at Rufaro last year.

I guess to you, it was just “that woman prattling again.”

From, thereon he went into free-fall, ignoring my calls, summoning and demanding reports from Zimbabwe Women Football board members behind my back.

Fellow board members, how many times did you allow our all-powerful General Secretary to cower you into silence when I tried to make you see that his attitude towards women’s football belonged to the Stone Age?

That his threats of him holding dossiers that I was not good for football were wrong?

By your silence, you allowed the ZIFA CEO to lie under oath in Parliament about disbursement of FIFA FAP funds, the welfare of Mighty Warriors while in camp.

I tried to make you see that it was not only wrong from a woman’s point of view, that the Mighty Warriors coach had no contract and could not claim anything from ZIFA for her work.

That as women football leaders we could not allow you to appoint some of the coaches you had identified to work with National Teams because our girls were not safe with them?

Your silence gave him the courage to ride rough shod over women’s football matters.

When presenting his reports to you and talking to the media, you gave him room to project himself as a “committed servant of football ready to serve the game 247.”

That he was brazenly breaching ZIFA statutes and interpreting the Constitution and Rules and Regulations to suit his agenda did not have you worried at all.

Gentlemen, I have felt disempowered and discouraged by your prolonged silence.

In private, some of you pretend to be worried by Mashingaidze’s unbecoming conduct but come board meetings, you switched positions and leave me alone in a corner at the mercy of the all-powerful “Chief, Papa or Mr Mash.”

But today, colleagues, I have decided to break my silence and speak.

I will not, as a woman elected to aance the cause of women’s football, hold my peace any moment longer, when our CEO denigrates a duly elected Member of Parliament and a duly appointed representative of the Government of Zimbabwe.

I will not stand by and allow Mashingaidze to trivialise another woman who is speaking out on behalf of the thousands of girls throughout Zimbabwe who dream of a rewarding career in football.

Honourable Tabitha Kanengoni-Malinga is giving voice to the thoughts, frustrations and aspirations of Zimbabwean women.

Tell me my brothers.

How do you reconcile the fact that our General-Secretary describes the Deputy Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture as “misguided and misinformed” on our behalf without our consent?

And yet, this is the very same Government official we are hoping to lobby her colleagues in Government to give ZIFA the US$3,2 million that you requested? (I distance myself from that budget because as a woman board member, I was not deemed fit to input into its preparation or critic it before it was submitted to Government.)

Fellow ZIFA board members, NOW is the time for you to see Mashingaidze’s unbecoming conduct for what it is.

It is detrimental to the beautiful game.

Mashingaidze has gone way out of line and must be shown the red card.

For the good of the game, I implore you fellow colleagues that just this once accept that Mashingaidze is toxic not just to women’s football, but the entire game across the gender divide.

It is time we show Mashingaidze the exit from 53 Livingstone Avenue for the sake of the future of Zimbabwean football.

Speaking out will take Zimbabwean football forward and your continued silence will be fatal to the game.

Yours in Sport

Mai Miriam Sibanda

Zimbabwe Women Football National Chairperson

This Open Letter to ZIFA Board members was written by Miriam Sibanda yesterday and, once again, thanks to the quality of our sources — from Harare to Zurich — we are able to share it with our readers.

Source : The Herald

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