IN yesterday’s issue we reported that the international friendly match between Zimbabwe and Botswana, which ZIFA had claimed was set for Saturday at the National Sports Stadium, was hanging in the balance.
We described it as a major BOOB because, as far as our enquiries had shown, this friendly international was something that was only being known at ZIFA House.
We were pretty sure that the chances of Botswana coming to play the match were very slim because, as far as those who lead the game in that country were concerned, it wasn’t something they had planned for.
Botswana Football Association chief executive, Mfolo Mfolo, told Mmegi, the leading newspaper in that country that they were not aware of the fixture which their Zimbabwean counterparts were talking about.
“We do not have any agreement to play Zimbabwe,” he said.
In normal circumstances, he should know because he is the heartbeat of the BFA, the man who receives all the communications and the man who releases all the official correspondence.
There is no way an international friendly match can be organised without one of the chief executives of the two associations knowing about it.
And, yesterday, our fears came to pass when the ZIFA leaders announced that the scheduled match would no longer go ahead as scheduled.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) advises all football stakeholders that our planned international friendly match against Botswana has been cancelled due to circumstances beyond our control,” a statement from ZIFA read.
“The association sincerely regrets all inconveniences that this unfortunate development has caused to all our stakeholders.”
The local football governing body had already set the entry fees for the ghost match and even forced the Premier Soccer League to postpone their entire programme for the weekend.
Surely, Lincoln Mutasa, the man who is running ZIFA, should address the mess that he, and his team created, by announcing a ghost match.
For a national football association, it can’t get any worse than that.
You can’t psyche an entire football community, pretending that you have organised a friendly international, when you really know that nothing of that sort has been done.
You can’t deceive an entire country, lying that you have organised a match to ensure that our players will have a chance to prepare for their World Cup qualifiers set for next month, when you know that nothing of that sort has happened.
What Mutasa and his team at ZIFA did was simple — they LIED to us because they wanted to deceive us that they were doing something, to make full use of the window provided by the international break, when they knew they had done nothing at all.
In other countries, football leaders have been known to resign for this but we know that Mutasa and his blundering leadership will hang on and they will keep pretending as if they are doing something, when they are doing nothing.
This is simply humiliating.