IT is exactly a month since Lincoln Mutasa was appointed by FIFA to head a Normalisation Committee that will run the affairs of troubled ZIFA in the transitional period that has followed the lifting of Zimbabwe’s 17-month suspension by the world football governing body.
Zimpapers Sports’ PETROS KAUSIYO caught up with Mutasa to discuss what he has made of the task to reform ZIFA and prepare the association for elections of a substantive executive committee later next year.
The former Dynamos chairman and his committee will also have to move with speed to appoint a national coach as the Warriors are expected to return to the international fold with an African Nations Championships qualifying assignment next month before partaking in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers scheduled to start in November.
QUESTION: How have you found your first Month in charge of ZIFA Affairs?
ANSWER: Our first month in charge of ZIFA affairs can be described in a lot of ways but to sum it all up it has been very busy and productive. In view of the mandate from FIFA we have adopted an Independent Strategic Plan as a guiding plump line and or roadmap to assist us in the execution of our mandate.
In this first month, we have already started implementing our strategies and we are happy with the support we are receiving from the secretariat and all the other stakeholders.
Q: What are some of the areas you have found to be needing urgent attention and those that have been functional and probably just need strengthening?
A: It is a general consensus amongst us that all the areas need urgent attention in order to ensure the smooth running of the association.
The different departments of the ZIFA structure are dealing with all their issues as urgent issues e.g. in the technical department we have the issue of coaches which, with the guidance of the sports calendar we feel the coaches are high priority so all other departments are working together to ensure proper systems are put in place to ensure its done in a transparent and correct manner.
Whilst restructuring exercise is also urgent, the relevant department is also running with that exercise to ensure it done in a procedural and meticulous manner.
Q: There have been concerns among the football family on the way the Normalisation Committee has taken off in administering the game particularly allegations that you excluded the secretariat in your operations, what is your take on that?
A: These allegations are false. We actually commend the secretariat for their maximum support and co-operation in helping the Normalisation Committee in the running of the ZIFA affairs on a daily basis.
Q: Could you clarify on reports that the Normalisation Committee intends to disband the ZIFA secretariat and order every individual under the employ of ZIFA to re-apply?
A: We would like to believe that these reports are emanating from the mandate of the NC from FIFA to restructure the ZIFA administration.
It should be made clear to the public and the football family that organisations are dynamic systems and cannot function in the same way all the time therefore they should evolve through various life cycles to ensure there is increased efficiency amongst other things.
The Association is definitely going through this same process and this means making critical decisions and evolves positive and negative impact on the functioning of the association.
We have made known to the secretariat of all possible negative aspects of the restructuring besides its positive outcomes. However, it’s too early to give a conclusive statement on this issue as processes are still underway.
Q: Prior to your appointment by FIFA, there were allegations of abuse and victimisation of the secretariat, especially by the ousted board that accused them of siding with the SRC. Minister Kirsty Coventry also acknowledged that she was aware of the said victimisation, what has the Normalisation Committee done to protect the workers?
A: These allegations you mention here have not been formally presented to the NC so we cannot discuss them at this moment. If they do come, we will deal with them decisively.
Q: From your assessment thus far do you believe the Normalisation Committee alone can reform ZIFA and make the association ready for elections inside a year or are we likely to see some committees being put in place to help with the process?
A: “Chara chimwe hachitswanyi inda” a Shona proverb which translated to English means One finger cannot crush lice. We will definitely do the needful in setting up these committees and ensure the Normalisation of Zimbabwean football is indeed a collaborative effort.
Q: FIFA in their letter announcing the lifting of the suspension of Zimbabwe indicated that your committee would undertake a forensic audit of ZIFA, when can we expect this to start?
A: We cannot provide dates as yet. However, institutional processes are underway.
Q: Which period will the audit cover?
A: It will be determined by the audit team.
Q: Will the Normalisation Committee consider both the audit that was done by an audit firm appointed by the SRC restructuring committee or the restructuring committee’s overall report on ZIFA?
A: We have used these reports as a starting point as these are recommendations from independent experts as regards the ZIFA current state of affairs. We will also exercise our own discretion where necessary.
Q: Will your Committee engage with any stakeholders such as PSL clubs or other ZIFA affiliates that made up the Congress?
Q: Are there any plans to engage with the Congress or the ZIFA legal representative especially in view of the fact that the association had earlier begun a constitutional reform process?
Q: What is your take for calls to set up sub-committees to assist in the administration of the game given the demanding tasks that lie ahead including the national teams’ assignments and revival of women and junior development programmes?
A: We are putting Structures in place.
Q: How autonomous is your committee from the direct management of the FIFA office in Zurich?
A: We have been given the powers to act independently and impartially without any interference.