Following the suspension of the Zimbabwe National Football Association by the Zimbabwe Sports and Recreation Committee, FIFA has threatened to impose sanctions on the country. On December 21, 2021, FIFA warned Zimbabwe that appropriate measures may have to be imposed on Zimbabwe. The world football governing body stated that unless Zimbabwe's elected football association regains control of the sport by January 3rd, 2022, a ban may be issued.
The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), a government-appointed organization charged with developing sports, suspended the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) board in November. FIFA has previously banned countries from all forms of football as a result of governmental meddling in the running of member associations. Zimbabwe has previously been punished and banned for violating FIFA's rules, but it appears that they have not learned their lesson.
Zimbabwe's participation in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon is now in serious doubt. Last Monday, the SRC told FIFA that a nine-member restructuring committee had been created, which may be in existence until December 2022.
Gerald Mlotshwa, the chair of the SRC, has already stated that his organization is willing to risk a suspension if it is necessary to clean up Zimbabwean football. Mismanagement and lack of responsibility in ZIFA's use of public funds, as well as alleged sexual harassment of female staff, were cited as reasons for the SRC's intervention. However, the reasons for SRC's intervention appear to be justified. ZIFA is constantly making headlines for the wrong reasons. Corruption and match-fixing controversies have plagued Zimbabwe's football organization in prior years.
In November, Mlotshwa declared, "If we are suspended from the Africa Cup of Nations, we are prepared for that." "Zimbabwean football needs this opportunity to be fixed." Indeed, Zimbabwean football needs to be fixed. Poor football stadiums and other amenities demonstrate a complete lack of leadership by the country’s football governing body.
Should SRC fail to surrender control by the 3rd of January, Group B at next month's Nations Cup might contain three countries—Guinea, Malawi, and Senegal—if Zimbabwe is disqualified.
Zimbabwean football would be negatively impacted by this decision. Preparations for the Nations Cup have already been hampered by the dispute between ZIFA and the SRC. Following advice from the SRC, the ZIFA administration confirmed earlier this month that Norman Mapeza would coach the team in Cameroon. The suspended ZIFA board, however, issued a statement the next day rebutting this, claiming, "The board has not selected any national team coach."
The Warriors' morale has also been harmed by the possibility of a ban. The technical staff and players are unsure of what will happen. Even if the dispute between ZIFA and the SRC is resolved, the harm has already been done, and the team's performance is likely to suffer as a result. Zimbabwean football fans are apprehensive that the Warriors will not be able to compete in the continental showpiece. Many fans believe that Zimbabwe has a good possibility of progressing from the group stages to the next round this time around.
Zimbabwe's technical team has picked a preliminary roster of 30 players for the event. The Warriors will be without Marvelous Nakamba, who suffered a knee injury while playing for Aston Villa. Senegal, Guinea, and Malawi have all been assigned to Group B. Senegal is poised to win the group, with the remaining three teams vying for second place.