HARARE – Zimbabwe’s suspension from international football has been lifted, according to a statement below issued by the International football federation body FIFA.
In recent weeks, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) moved to clear the last hurdle in their engagement with FIFA by lifting the suspension of the ZIFA board ahead of Zimbabwe’s expected return to the global football family this week.
FIFA, who have been working closely with CAF and COSAFA in their engagement with the SRC, are set to announce the end of Zimbabwe’s one-and-a-half-years’ suspension from international football.
The world football governing body are also set to unveil a Normalisation Committee that will oversee ZIFA reforms and prepare the ground for elections at the troubled association.
It has emerged that FIFA, who last week dispatched another delegation to Harare, have since introduced members of the proposed Normalisation Committee to the SRC.
FIFA head of development programmes in Africa Solomon Mudege, who has been the international federation’s point man on Zimbabwe over the years; Gelson Fernandes (FIFA director, Member Associations Africa); and COSAFA and Angola Football Association president Artur de Almeida e Silva made the trip to Harare for another series of meetings with the SRC.
On their part, the SRC had written to Felton Kamambo and his board on June 29, advising them of their decision to rescind the November 16, 2021 suspension they had imposed on the ZIFA executive.
They copied the communication to FIFA, clearing the path of any legal snags that could have arisen ahead of the imminent introduction of the Normalisation Committee.
However, the Kamambo-led board’s term of office has already expired.
Kamambo and two other members — Philemon Machana and Bryton Malandule — had also been recalled by the ZIFA Congress during their suspension via an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on April 23, 2022, with Gift Banda being appointed acting president of the association.
Although FIFA and the SRC have kept a lid on their deliberations, sources close to the goings-on told The Sunday Mail Sport that every member of the Kamambo board had received the communication from the country’s sport regulatory body.
“After sending another three-member delegation to Zimbabwe, FIFA should now be communicating their decision on Zimbabwe on Monday or latest Tuesday.
“In the meantime, the SRC have rescinded their board resolution of November 16, 2021 suspending the ZIFA executive committee,” the sources said.
“It has been rescinded because it (the suspension) has long been overtaken by two events, which are the ZIFA Congress of last year (EGM) and the expiry of the tenure of the executive committee on December 31, 2022.
“FIFA also requested the rescission to be done so that it’s absolutely clear that there is no legal impediment to FIFA taking control of ZIFA affairs through the Normalisation Committee in the event the suspension is lifted.”
In the event that the suspension is lifted, ZIFA will be run by a Normalisation Committee.
Candidates for that Normalisation Committee were introduced to the SRC board last week.
“It seems all the major hurdles to this long and delicate and yet very necessary process have now been cleared,” added the sources.
Some of the ousted ZIFA board members who requested anonymity confirmed to The Sunday Mail Sport that they had received their letters.
The letter sent to Kamambo — and copied to Farai Jere, Sugar Chagonda, Barbra Chikosi, Stanley Chapeta, Malandule and Machana — read in part: “Please, be advised that in light of the outcome of the ZIFA Congress of April 2022 and subsequent developments thereafter, we write to advise that the SRC resolution of November 16, 2021, which suspended the entire ZIFA executive committee, including yourself, is now redundant and is accordingly rescinded.
“Our progressive and very positive deliberations with FIFA (and CAF) during the course of last year, and more particularly during the course of 2023, have resulted in the adoption of this position.”
CAF have provisionally included Zimbabwe in their 2026 World Cup African Zone qualifying draw scheduled for Cotonou, Benin, on Wednesday.
The Warriors will be in Pot 4 when the draw is done and will be in the same lot with Mozambique, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Togo, Tanzania, Central African Republic, Malawi and Libya.
The World Cup qualifiers are set to begin in November.
Earlier, there were hopes the Zimbabwe matter could be resolved in time for the Warriors to gatecrash into the 2023 COSAFA Cup.
But the six-time COSAFA Cup champions will now have to wait for next year to mark their return to the Southern African competition, as this year’s tourney is already in full swing, having started in Durban on July 5.