FIFA President’s ally in Zimbabwe involved in a scandal

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Zifa’s decision to rescind the red card shown to Dynamos player, Christian Ntouba is probably one of football’s most diabolic and shameful decisions and it is a hallmark of Philip Chiyangwa’s presidency, where populism rather than football reigns supreme.

As a starting point, Ntouba head-butted a Highlanders player and there can be no excuse for the violent conduct and the red card was well-deserved.

That the referee had a poor game does not in any way excuse Ntouba’s behaviour and instead of rescinding the red card, Zifa could have chosen to punish him further.

What then led to Zifa rescinding the red card borders on the bizarre and opens the door for impunity, as other players will justifiably engage in violent behaviour expecting to be excused.

In the history of football, there has never been a red card rescinded after a player was involved in violent conduct and it is jarring why Chiyangwa and his team have set such a grossly unconventional precedent.

This decision is to the detriment of football and it is no wonder why the local game struggles to attract meaningful sponsorship.

No self-respecting corporate would want to be associated with such flagrant abuse of the laws of football and they would rather stay away.

The biggest loser in all this is football and the buck stops with Chiyangwa, as the leader of Zifa.

On the other hand, if Dynamos felt aggrieved, they should have approached the Premier Soccer League, who would, if they could not handle the case, pass it forward to Zifa, unlike this situation where procedures are flouted willy-nilly.

The procedures for appeals are laid down in the Premier Soccer League rules and regulations and procedures should be followed at all times.

The swiftness with which the red card was rescinded also raises questions, as even in the English Premier League, where they have the luxury of many camera angles and technology, they are never this quick to reverse decisions or retrospectively punish errant players.

It would not be remiss to equate Chiyangwa and Zifa to swash-buckling cowboys in the Wild West, who have no regard for processes and laws of the game.

For the cynics, this is a clear effort to pave the way for Dynamos to win the championship, as it paves the way for their striker to play against Caps United, a game he would have missed due to the red card.

We would not want to be involved in conspiracy theories and cynicism, but we have to point out that this was as weird as decisions get.

Chiyangwa and Zifa have just pushed Zimbabwean football into an abyss and this decision is likely to have repercussions that will haunt the game for a very long time to come. – NewsDay