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Cosafa blow for Young Warriors

Jayden Barake

ZIMBABWE’S suspension from the world football family continues to pinch after the Young Warriors were barred from taking part in the COSAFA Under-20 championship set for Eswatini next month.

Already Zimbabwean teams have been excluded from the several international football events notably the Afcon qualifiers, 2022 Cosafa Cup, CHAN 2022 men qualifiers and Caf Champions League following the suspension back February.

And missing out on the COSAFA Under-20 championships scheduled for October 7 – 16, which also acts as a zonal qualifier for the 2023 Under-20 Cup of Nations to be hosted by Egypt is a major blow for the country’s budding talent.

This season the local league was awash with talented young players such as 19-year-old WhaWha forward Jayden Barake who has scored eight times in the league so far and FC Platinum’s Thandolwenkosi Ngwenya (19) who also scored eight times.

Other notable Under-20 players in the league include 18-year-old Dynamos prodigy Makunike Junior, Highlanders’ 16-year-old prospect Prince Ndhlovu, Herentals first choice goalkeeper Chikosi Takudzwa (19), teammate Ruguchu Zibusiso (18)  Walter Vuwa (18) Ngezi Platinum Stars and CAPS United’s Diago Makurumidze (19), among many others.

Zimbabwe had its Fifa membership suspended earlier this year for third party interference into the running of the sport in the country by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) after it suspended the Zifa board over a litany of charges.

Some footballers led by France-based Marshall Munetsi have been clamoring for a quick resolution to issues bedeviling football so that the country can compete in international events.

“On the 2nd of March 2022 I posted regarding the ban on our national teams from international football and how lives have been impacted by the ban, this ban has spilled over to our local football clubs, they can’t take part in regional continental tournaments,” Munetsi wrote on his social media platforms.

“I come back again, pleading with the relevant authorities and all parties involved to find a workable solution to this matter, As things stand we are losing a generation of talented footballers, they are not being exposed to scouting opportunities from abroad as a result and it is Zimbabwean football that will suffer in a few years’ time, and it is the fans who are being denied to right to watch the game they so dearly love.

“Once again I plead with the relevant parties to find a workable solution to this matter, so that our beautiful nation gets to enjoy our beautiful game,” he added.

Last week, the SRC met with Zifa and the ZIFA Restructuring Committee for the purpose of getting an update from ZIFA regarding the implementation of certain of the conditions to which the lifting of the suspension of the ZIFA executive committee in June as well as to get progress report on the forensic audit from BDO Chartered Accountants on the financial affairs of ZIFA.

The Zifa Restructuring Committee gave an update on the progress it has made.

The forensic audit report will be released at the end of this month is believed to give further credence to the SRC’s case against the Zifa board led by Felton Kamambo after Fifa imposed penalty former referees committee secretary general, Obert Zhoya, for sexual harassment.

SRC is currently prioritising the implementation of reforms in the administration of football in the country other than lobbying for the lifting of ZIFA’s suspension as a member of FIFA.

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