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The rot in our body politic is manifest in other facets of our lives. We may not want to care about the goings on at the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) House but the decisions or lack of leadership at the football mother body over the years has been aersely affecting all of us. Gradually our Warriors have turned the whole nation into Worriers. “The beautiful game,” as soccer commentator Charles Mabika loves to call it, has become “an agonising experience.”

It was the Ghanaian coach, Ben Koufie, who left a spell – even if we were to get a coach from the moon, Zimbabwean soccer will go nowhere. His prophecy was somehow cast away. We have been to the Africa Cup of Nations twice. And on both occasions, Zimbabwe was shepherded by local coaches. More recently, the national team surprised all and sundry at the African Nations Championships (CHAN) in South Africa.

The potential is there. But lack of corporate funding and lack of visionary leadership have stunted the growth of local football. Traditionally, we have always been perennial under achievers. It was the late Reinhard Fabisch who spoiled us. Regardless of which local team one supported, we all rallied around the Warriors. Legendary Peter Ndlovu was at the peak of his career flanked by his two brothers. He was not just exciting Zimbabwean soccer but the English Premier League as well. And he remains the most successful Zimbabwean soccer export.

How and when did Zimbabwean soccer descend into the sham it has become? Asiagate exploded and highlighted the magnitude of how corruption and bribery can also affect the flow of play on the field. Several players, officials and journalists were implicated in the cancerous match-fixing scandal. Ninety eight individuals were investigated. Nothing happened. The noise hushed and Zimbabwean football is supposedly back to business as usual.

That Cuthbert Dube was re-elected as ZIFA president is scandalous. His tenure at the helm of Zimbabwean football has received mixed reviews and the standards of soccer in the country have deteriorated under his watch. The senior team has become a laughing stock and there are no structures for junior development. By retaining Dube, local football administrators have shown that they are happy with more of the same. An indictment to our game! Yes, Zimbabweans must be outraged at the moral indecency exhibited by Dube to even be willing to take charge while he has been dominating the headlines as the most over-paid executive in the country. Why have we allowed ZIFA affairs to be personalised and corrupted to the detriment of the national interest?

It is high time ZIFA wakes up and fully takes charge and turn around the football fortunes of the country. There is abundant talent, willing investors and a mass of passionate supporters but no leadership. Give us back our football ZIFA!

Source : Financial Gazette