HARARE – Two of Zimbabwe’s best international footballers have made a plea for the end of a prolonged impasse that resulted in the country being suspended from international football by world football governing body Fifa.

Zimbabwe was sanctioned by Fifa earlier this year and thrown out of the qualification competition for the next Africa Cup of Nations tournament on charges of government interference in the affairs of the national football federation, Zifa.

Last year the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), a government-appointed body the regulates all sporting activities in the Southern African country, sacked top officials of Zifa, accusing them of a litany of transgressions ranging from corruption to sexual harassment of female match officials.

Fifa kicked Zimbabwe out of international football after the SRC refused to comply with an order to reinstate the Zifa officials, who are currently under investigation by Zimbabwean authorities.

With Zimbabwe in a limbo, United States-based goalkeeper Tatenda Mkuruva has called on all parties to resolve the issue so that the suspension can be lifted.

“It’s very sad to what’s happening to our beautiful game of football in Zim, the ban on all our national  and local teams from  participating in international football competitions is a shame,” Michigan Stars FC keeper Mkuruva, who caught the eye with impressive performances at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals, wrote on Facebook.

“Its high time that our leaders or parties involved to sit down and resolve all these conflicts to save our football…Football players are losing time, chances and all opportunities to be recognised internationally to further our careers. How do we expect as a nation to compete at the highest level of football when talented young generation dreams are being shattered by things that can be easily solved.”

Midfielder Marshall Munetsi, who plays for French top-flight club Reims, has been one of the most vocal Zimbabwean players in the on-going standoff.

Munetsi had been eager to play at the Africa Cup of Nations again after missing the previous edition in Cameroon in January due to injury.

“On the 2nd of March 2022 I posted regarding the ban on our national teams from international football and how lives have been impacted by the ban, this ban has spilled over to our local football clubs, they can’t take part in regional continental tournaments,” Munetsi also posted on Facebook.

“I come back again, pleading with the relevant authorities and all parties involved to find a workable solution to this matter. As things stand we are losing a generation of talented footballers, they are not being exposed to scouting opportunities from abroad as a result and it is Zimbabwean football that will suffer in a few years’ time, and it is the fans who are being denied the right to watch the game they so dearly love. Once again I plead with the relevant parties to find a workable solution to this matter, so that our beautiful nation gets to enjoy our beautiful game.”


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