The Highlanders FC hierarchy will hold an urgent meeting today after the club was plunged into a leadership crisis by Zifa’s move to suspend chairman Peter Dube and chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede on Monday night
Dube, who is also the Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman, is the first casualty in the relegation and promotion circus presently enveloping domestic football, while Gumede is paying the price for questioning the legitimacy of the stillborn National Football Association of Zimbabwe (Nafaz).
Nafaz had been formed to replace Zifa, but legal hurdles threw spanners into its standing, resulting in its founders reverting to Zifa.
Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa made the shock announcement on Monday night, saying both Dube and Gumede had separately violated sections of the Zifa constitution through alleged acts of misconduct. Their suspensions were effective Monday night.
Highlanders’ board chairman Mgcini Nkolomi said they had scheduled a meeting after which the club would make an official comment on the suspensions that threaten the stability of the Bulawayo giants.
“I haven’t been properly briefed and we are meeting the guys tomorrow (today) morning so that we get a clear picture. The club’s official comment will be known after getting a proper briefing from the chairman and CEO,” said Nkolomi.
According to Chiyangwa, Dube, who has been suspended from all football related activities, will face Zifa disciplinary action.
Zifa councillors last month shockingly voted to relegate four teams in violation of a standing agreement to drop two at the end of the season.
A 2015 agreement resolved to drop two teams from the topflight and promotional play-offs involving winners of Zifa’s four regional leagues were to be held to determine the two teams to fill up the PSL slots for the 2017 season.
The attempt to rescind the 2015 resolution to relegate two teams seemed to have triggered the latest fallout between Zifa and the PSL.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association has provisionally suspended Peter Dube and disciplinary proceedings have been instituted against the Premier Soccer League Chairman following his inappropriate conduct during a Zifa congress on 29 October 2016.
“Dube is charged for contravening Article 1.15 of Schedule 11 of the Zifa Rules and Regulations. On the 29th of October 2106, Dube unlawfully interrupted formal proceedings during a Zifa congress and he further attempted to incite chaos by urging Premier Soccer League clubs’ representatives to denounce lawfully made resolutions.
“Dube violated Zifa regulations by failing to restrain himself during the PSL promotion/relegation conundrum and he also attended the meeting as a representative of Highlanders Football Club, while he is a Zifa executive committee member,” read part of Chiyangwa’s statement announcing the suspension.
There are fears the latest fallout between Zifa and the PSL could have serious ramifications for the domestic game.
Gumede’s crime, according to Chiyangwa, is that he wrote to world football governing body Fifa in support of a bid by some disgruntled members to overthrow the Chiyangwa-led board.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association has forthwith provisionally suspended Ndumiso Gumede from any role, position or status in association football in Zimbabwe.
“The Zifa executive committee resolved that in terms of Article 34 (n) of the Zifa constitution, Gumede has to immediately relinquish all associations with football related activities as a result of gross violations of the Zifa constitution and undermining a constitutionally-elected leadership.
“Gumede wrote a letter to the world football governing body (Fifa) peddling falsehoods about a legitimate football leadership, seeking to dissolve a constitutionally-elected executive committee.
“Gumede further sought to destabilise smooth football administration by establishing a bogus parallel structure which operated as a ‘Zifa Working Committee’ in a foiled attempt to seize control of association football from Zifa.
“In that vein, Gumede ceases to be a member of the global football family since he is now barred from representing or associating himself with Zifa or any of its members,” Chiyangwa said.