Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
ZRP Bulawayo province have taken aim at the Zifa Southern Region leadership for trying to force them to fulfil a Division One League fixture during Independence Day celebrations despite their players being on national duty as per their mandate.
Zifa Southern Region scheduled ZRP Bulawayo to play ZPC Hwange away on Independence Day, but the cops did not travel to Hwange resulting in Zifa awarding the game to power generators on a 3-0 walkover score line and fined the police side $500 in accordance with Article 9.4 of its rules and regulations.
A fuming ZRP Byo chairman Superintendent Mhambi Ndebele said there is no way they could have been seen playing a football match on Independence Day.
“What comes first is national duty so we could not travel to Hwange on such an important national day. Zifa must be objective not subjective if they want to be professional. We have since written to them regarding our position,” said Ndebele, who is also the deputy officer commanding Suburban District.
Despite the match having been set for April 18, a letter written by Tumediso Mokoena, Zifa Southern region board member responsible for administration, claims the Bulawayo outfit failed to fulfil an April 19 fixture.
“We actually requested a postponement by a mere 24 hours to April 19, but ZPC Hwange refused to play us on that day and now we have this letter which says we failed to travel to Hwange on April 19, which adds more confusion to the whole drama.
“Zifa must know that despite us being an affiliate, we are also strategic and key stakeholders,” said Ndebele.
A source at Zifa said the game was likely to be rescheduled as the police team has a genuine case.
Last year ZRP Bulawayo travelled to Hwange to face the electricity men, but were met by an empty Chakona Stadium after the Hwange players downed tools over unpaid salaries.
The Zifa Southern Region Division One League has had a rocky start to the 2017 season, which is a mockery of the smooth flowing 2016 season.