Shingi Matibiri, Sports Reporter
The Zimbabwe Football Association says Zimbabwean players are still eligible to move to foreign clubs despite the country’s suspension from international football by FIFA over government interference in the operations of the national football association.
There were fears that Zimbabwean players were going to be hamstrung by the FIFA suspension but the ZIFA Transfer Management Systems manager Timothy Mazhindu said the transfer of Zimbabwean players is still open with some players having moved to international teams well after the suspension of the country from international football.
“We have a system provided by FIFA called the FIFA TMS where we do transactions of players going out and coming into Zimbabwe. I can confirm that the system is working and FIFA hasn’t locked the system,” Mazhindu said.
“We have actually been transferring players outside the country. We have amateur players who have gone to South Africa, Swaziland and some to Poland in Europe.”
Mazhindu said that FIFA were considerate over the welfare of players hence the reason why they have allowed transfers to go ahead despite the suspension.
“FIFA is very particular about the livelihoods of the players.
“They don’t block the players from moving even when the football association is suspended from international matches.
“They want the careers of players to go on unhindered by the country’s suspension. So the systems are currently running and for now there is nothing to fear.
“Of course, FIFA can lock the system from their end and suspend it from their side under certain circumstances but that hasn’t happened now, we are still operational,” Mazhindu said.
FIFA suspended Zimbabwe from international football in February and ratified the suspension at the end of March after the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) refused to reinstate the Felton Kamambo led board.
The Sports and Recreation Commission suspended Kamambo and his board in November 2021 on various charges which includes the failure to account for public and failure to deal sexual harassment allegations levelled against some board members but FIFA said the SRC charges were ‘mere allegations’ which lacked evidence.
SRC board chairman Gerald Mlotshwa is on record that no amount of pressure was going to make their them change their position and reinstate the suspended ZIFA board.
Zimbabwe are however set to miss out on the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, the 2023 CHAN qualifiers as well as the regional COSAFA Cup tournament.
ZIFA are also going to miss out on the grants from FIFA with local clubs and referees not being able to participate in the continental club competitions.