Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
ZIFA have said they will no longer comment on the issue related to suspended vice-president Gift Banda as the matter was now sub-judice after the association laid more charges on the Bulawayo businessman.
Association chief executive Joseph Mamutse sent a letter to Banda yesterday advising him he was also being charged for allegedly convening an unsanctioned meeting of board members on the eve of a meeting of the country’s football leaders.
ZIFA also claim Banda issued threatening messages to some ZIFA board members on January 16 after the pronouncement of his suspension.
‘’The Association hereby requests you to respond in writing to the charges within seven days of receipt of this charge sheet,’’ read the letter. ZIFA spokesman said they would nolonger comment on the issue. ‘’The Zimbabwe Football Association would like to inform the football fraternity that following the suspension and subsequent activation of judicial processes against Hon. Gift Banda, it shall not issue any further comment on the matter,’’ read a statement.
‘’The case is now sub judice and we shall not be involved in any discussion about it elsewhere to let the course of justice prevail without putting the association at risk of contempt.
‘’We thank you for your usual understanding.’’ ZIFA yesterday announced a substantial increase in the gate charges for the decisive AFCON qualifier between Zimbabwe and Congo-Brazzaville with fans expected to dig deep into their pockets for as much as $200 for the VVIP ticket.
The VVIP ticket rose four-fold from the previous price of $50 when Zimbabwe hosted DRC in their last home match three months ago. Entrance fees to the bays 15-18 also rose from $10 to $50 while the cheapest ticket for the rest of the ground will be selling at $10.
ZIFA spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela, said tickets will go on sale this Friday and to avoid the chaos that usually obtain at the gates, no ticket sales will be done at the venue on the match day. Gwesela yesterday said the rise in the gate charges was justified considering the skyrocketing costs of hosting matches of such magnitude.
Roughly US$200 000 is needed to cater for all the overheads which include air tickets for all the players and officials, transport and accommodation among other costs.
“As an association we always plan ahead. These prices were agreed upon after wide consultations and we believe they are in line with what is obtaining on the ground.
“Generally, prices of almost everything have been going up.
‘’So we just needed to be practical because ZIFA does not operate in isolation. We are also in Zimbabwe. Costs of running an international match of this magnitude have gone up,” said Gwesela.