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By Rest Mutore / Published on Wednesday, 20 Dec 2017 16:33 PM / No Comments / 1491 views

19 December 2017

THE match between the Warriors of Zimbabwe and Chipolopolo of Zambia was Monday afternoon finally called off with ZIFA pointing to the unavailability of the National Sports Stadium as the reason for the cancellation.

What is strange is the reason behind the cancellation which has been described by critics as bordering on the illogical.

The international match was apparently cancelled because of a wedding that is set to be held at the NSS.

The match was initially meant to celebrate President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inauguration before the bungling association changed it to a Christmas cheer match, reportedly after failing to get the requisite buy-in from the highest office.

But in another mid-air somersault, ZIFA yesterday said the match, which would have seen locally based players taking on their northern neighbours is now officially off, because the venue – National Sports Stadium is booked for a WEDDING on the same day.

The association’s spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela refused to comment when contacted to explain the ‘grey areas’ in the statement.

“Please be guided by the press statement,” said Gwesela.

Below is the full statement by Zifa:
“The Zimbabwe Football Association regrets to inform all football stakeholders that the proposed Christmas Challenge cup between the senior teams of Zimbabwe and Zambia has been cancelled due to the non-availability of the National Sports Stadium on 23 December.

The match between the legends of South African football and their counterparts from Zimbabwe which was supposed to serve as pre-match entertainment has also been called-off.

The association was advised that the facility is booked for a wedding on the same date; therefore, the friendly match cannot go ahead.

ZIFA is concerned by the prioritising of non-sporting events ahead of football matches when it comes to access to the National Sports Stadium.

“ZIFA unreservedly apologises to all stakeholders for all inconveniences caused.”

However, assuming that the unavailability of the National Sports Stadium was the genuine reason, ZIFA could have still opted for alternatives such as Rufaro or move the friendly encounter to other towns like Bulawayo, Gweru, Zvishavane or Ngezi which all can host such non-FIFA sanctioned low key contests.

Otherwise, the football stakeholders might have been “duped” by ZIFA who appear to have made the best out of a flimsy excuse.

Gwesela would have failed to answer questions like, is the NSS the only venue in Harare and or Zimbabwe during the off-season like this?

When did ZIFA know that the venue was booked? And is the match not cancelled because the initial plans to honour President Mnangagwa through the match failed?

So he refused to entertain the media.


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