The Sunday News
THE Zimbabwe Football Association has approached the Minister of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation, Kirsty Coventry to intervene after the Sports and Recreation Commission refused to clear the country’s Under-20 men’s football team to travel to South Africa for a Cosafa tournament.
Zifa on Tuesday wrote to Coventry to inform her that they had received correspondence from the Sports and Recreation Commission to the effect that the Under-20 national team has no been granted permission to participate in the 2020 edition of the Cosafa Under-20 Championship slated for 3-14 December in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The reasons advanced by the SRC were that the application should have a come a month before the team’s planned travel, which Zifa said was impossible since a delegation cannot be confirmed until 14 days before the team left due to a number of factors.
“We have been advised by the SRC that they need one month to facilitate clearance of national teams but this is impossible for football teams. It is difficult for Zifa to ascertain the actual delegation until the provisional list of players has been called up and this happens only 14 days before the match or the first match of the tournament.
“For that reason, we are only able to submit full delegation list for clearance when everyone involved has confirmed their commitment. We also have instances where players are called up and have to apply for travel documents while in camp and their details will be incomplete for clearance requests,’’ reads the Zifa communication.
Zifa said they were perplexed by the refusal by SRC to grant the Under-20 clearance considering that the national association sought clearance to participate in these international tournaments on 9 October. SRC authorised Zifa to start training for national teams on the 16th of October and prior to that all football activities had been suspended as a mitigatory measure to contain the corona virus.
Zifa advised Coventry of the consequences of withdrawing from the tournament at such a short notice, which comes with harsh penalties.
“We bring to your attention Honourable Minister Article 18:8 of the 2020 COSAFA U20 Boys zonal tournament Rules and Regulations which state that: –
“Withdrawal from the tournament by a participating Association notified less than twenty days before the start of the tournament or during it will entail, in addition to the loss of the entry fee, a fine of one hundred and fifty thousand (USD150 000.00) United States Dollars as well as the suspension of the relevant National Association for next two editions of the tournament except in cases of force majeure as determined by the organising committee.”
Zifa have pleaded with Coventry to intervene in the matter in order for the boys to be cleared to travel South Africa so as to avoid embarrassment for the country. The boys are meant to head off to Mzansi next Monday.
Xolisani Gwesela, the Zifa communications manager confirmed that the national association received the communication from the SRC and have appealed to Coventry to intervene.
“We confirm that we have received correspondence from the SRC not approving the Under-20 to travel to South Africa. We are disappointed by this decision and we have since appealed to the Minister of Sport the Honourable Kirsty Coventry,” said Gwesela.
The technical team, led by Dynamos coach Tonderayi Ndiraya is working with a squad of 30, with only 18 to travel to South Africa for the tournament.