Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
ZIFA have finally thrown in the towel in their bid to stage this year’s COSAFA Cup and the association could face sanctions from the regional body.
Felton Kamambo, the ZIFA president, revealed yesterday that their efforts had come to nought and they had since notified the COSAFA secretariat.
The tournament is scheduled for May 19 to June 1. “Our plans to host the COSAFA Cup hit a snag. We were hoping for a review of the decision, but that did not succeed. We will now await to hear the outcome of the decision by COSAFA,’’ Kamambo said.
He said ZIFA had initially wanted to use the national Under-23 side in this year’s tournament, but had noted that the 2019 COSAFA Cup had assumed a different dimension.
This followed the qualification for the AFCON finals by Zimbabwe, Angola, Madagascar, Namibia and South Africa. The Warriors could be suspended from the tournament should the COSAFA Disciplinary Committee come down hard on Zimbabwe for their late withdrawal.
COSAFA secretary-general Sue Destombes could not be reached for comment, but sources confirmed that part of the sanctions that ZIFA could face include a hefty fine.
“In such cases, regulations will apply. It has to be handled by the Disciplinary Committee of COSAFA, but there will be sanctions as well as a hefty fine. “Hopefully, the sanctions will not include banning Zimbabwe from participation in the COSAFA tournaments.
“But this could have been good preparations for the Warriors, with Government spending little, but this shall mean the team has to play friendlies away from the region.
“The tournament was guaranteeing the team at least three matches to prepare, so for now we can only wait,’’ the sources said.
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry cited short notice as the major reason for declining the offer.
“We want to make sure that when we do host an event of this magnitude that we are fully prepared, we have good timing. We just don’t feel that was given to us this time around.
“So, moving forward, we will continue to work closely with ZIFA in terms of what the next steps are and what the future holds in terms of hosting the event,” said Coventry.
Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa has been looking for an opportunity to closely assess, in game situations, such players like Admiral Muskwe, Kelvin Lunga, Adam Chicksen and McCauley Bonne.
Under-23 midfielder Seth Patrick, who had a good game against Mozambique, seems to have also impressed the veteran coach.