Shelly Guni, Sports Reporter
MINISTER of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Kirsty Coventry yesterday came out in the open accusing ZIFA of neglecting the girl child following Mighty Warriors’ boycott of their 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games qualifier against Zambia last Sunday.
Having lost 5-0 in the first leg of their second round qualifier in Lusaka, the Mighty Warriors were supposed to play Shepolopolo in the second leg at the National Sports Stadium.
The match, however, failed to take off after local clubs including Black Rhinos, Correctional Services, Blue Swallows and Herentals withdrew their players on the 11th hour due to non-payment of players allowances by ZIFA.
Clubs were not happy with ZIFA’s behaviour of playing hide and seek with the players when it comes to paying them their dues.
The association had promised to pay the players their dues before Sunday’s second leg after they had threatened not to fulfil the first leg and they were left with no option but to withdraw their players after it became apparent they were not getting anything.
The development is likely to throw the local game into an abyss considering the heavy sanctions and other penalties the country is likely to receive from FIFA.
Commenting on the issue on her twitter account, Hon Coventry revealed how ZIFA chefs demonstrated their ignorance towards the girl child.
“I asked the ZIFA Chair for a meeting to discuss the women’s qualifying debacle on Sunday he proceeded to ask Gvt for money for the Men’s Team to travel tomorrow! I have had enough of Women’s sport not being taken seriously in Zimbabwe,” wrote Coventry.
Coventry also appeared pissed on how local associations use grants they get from international federations such as FIFA and ICC.
“Gvt took on #ZimCricket debt but told not to interfere. #ZIFA once again ask for more money but Gvt told not to interfere. This is tax payer’s money you are ‘playing’ with! Both these associations get huge amounts of money from their international federation – where is it?” she queried.
“Asking for money alone is not asking for help. You need help in restructuring everything from the ground up and I have been willing and ready (from the beginning) to work with @CAF_Online and @FIFAcom and @ICC and any other organization to make Zimbabwe a Sporting Powerhouse.”