Eddie Chikamhi, Harare Bureau
THE Sports and Recreation Commission has set up a committee of inquiry to investigate the problems that led to the embarrassing boycott of the send-off dinner that was arranged for the Warriors by the Government ahead of their departure for the 2017 Africa Cup on Nations in Gabon.
The Warriors, who apparently had hit a deadlock in their negotiations with Zifa over participation fees and bonuses, could have landed themselves into trouble after they decided not to show up for a function that was officiated by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the Rainbow Towers.
Cde Mnangagwa was the Acting President when the incident happened and had helped mobilise resources to the tune of $1m for the team after Zifa had sent a last minute SOS to Government. But with the Warriors up in arms against the authorities at Zifa, the players did not show up for the dinner despite spirited attempts by their employers to persuade them to respect the Vice President, who was the Guest of Honour.
Hours later the team refused to board the plane to Cameroon where Zifa had planned a short camp enroute to Gabon.
Ironically, the bulk of the money raised by Government took the Warriors through the early part of their sojourn during the stay in Cameroon for a friendly match against the Indomitable Lions and in the opening rounds of the Afcon campaign.
And yesterday, Government through the SRC instituted a three-member committee led by veteran sports administrator Titus Zvomuya to investigate the source of the problems.
Joseph Mungwari and John Falkenberg are the other members of the committee.
Acting director general Joseph Muchechetere said the committee will start work immediately and make recommendations afterwards “so that this will not happen again in Sport and Recreation in general and in particular football.”
“The team’s boycott of the send off dinner also affected the general preparations and travel of the Warriors. These challenges naturally tarnished the image of the country, Zifa and it was a complete embarrassment to the sponsors.
“Their actions have far reaching consequences not only to the football fraternity but also to the entire sport and recreation sector hence the decision to set up the committee of inquiry to address these challenges,” said Muchechetere.
The members of the committee will gather evidence through face to face and electronic interviews or written submissions from the Warriors and other stakeholders.
Muchechetere also said the committee should work closely with Zifa in coming up with the findings and recommendations on the way forward.
“The findings of the Committee together with its recommendations shall be communicated to the SRC Board no later than February 28, 2017.
“As part of its work, the Committee will be at liberty to request for reports or information on any issue that they may deem necessary from Zifa for incorporation into the final report,” said Muchechetere.
“This action is being taken in terms the SRC Act Chapter 25:15 1991 section 12 as read with section 19 paragraphs (b) and (c) and section 20 paragraph (c).
“It is the duty of the Sports and Recreation Commission to protect the interests of the public and stakeholders as regards sport and recreation in the country hence this Committee is expected to gather as much information as possible so as to proffer well thought out advice on the matter.”
The Warriors have since been eliminated from the tournament after falling at the first hurdle in Group B. The bone of contention between the players and Zifa was centred on the appearance fees which were eventually pegged at $5 000 each player per game and winning bonuses which were $6 000 for a win and $3 000 for a draw.
Zimbabwe made a bright start and were eight minutes away from a big win when Algeria found the equaliser to force for a 2-2 result in their opening match.
But their hopes were dashed after losing 2-0 to Senegal and then crashing to a 4-2 defeat to Tunisia in their last group match.
Article Source: The Chronicle