Zimbabwean soccer back from the cold as FIFA lifts ban
FIFA has lifted an 18-month-long ban on the Zimbabwe Football Association which has rekindled the country’s hopes of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup.
This was confirmed by the Minister of Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services Senator Monica Mutsvangwa while speaking at the Post Cabinet Briefing last night.
“The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) lifted their suspension of Zimbabwe from the international game yesterday. Accordingly, the Minister together with other football stakeholders addressed a Press Conference this morning on the lifting of the suspension. A normalization committee has been appointed to run the affairs of ZIFA in the interim,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
FIFA barred Zimbabwe from participating in international football in February 2022 due to interference in the sport. As a result, the team missed out on playing in the African Cup of Nations preliminaries in 2023.
Following the announcement, Zimbabwe’s sports authorities held a press conference in Harare.
“We are acutely cognisant of the inconvenience, pain, and frustration that the suspension from international football has elicited,” Gerald Mlotshwa, Chairperson of the Sports and Recreation Commission, said.
” Never again should our football become a victim of unscrupulous administrators and social miscreants driven by self-centeredness and egotism as has been the case over the years.”
Minister of Youth, Sports, Arts, and Recreation, Honourable Dr. Kirsty Coventry described the end of the 18-month suspension as “exciting” and “incredible” at a press conference in Harare.
“Our athletes deserve that chance to get back there to live their dream. And they’re going to do that,” Coventry said.
The team can now head to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where the draw for the African qualifiers for the next World Cup will open on Thursday.