IT is one year and two months since domestic football was last played in the country and as each day passes by without football, emotions are boiling over and over.

The effects of that long layoff have been there for everyone to see as football commands a large following in this country where a lot people — not necessarily footballers — depend on it for survival.

Since that November 16 day in 2019 when the country hosted its last Premiership match, gate cashiers have lost their jobs, food and beverage vendors have lost business, and security guards have lost their extra income, while footballers themselves have not been paid for some time.

With “money games” also prohibited, there is a danger that the sport could soon lose some of its most talented products to drugs and crime while others are leaving the country for low-key foreign leagues.

In fact, the effects of that layoff have gone beyond estimations contributing to Zimbabwe’s disastrous show at the African Nations Championships (Chan), where the Warriors returned home with three losses from three matches.

Although there were other factors which also weighed down the Zimbabwe team, one cannot ignore the connection between the Warriors’ embarrassing display and the players’ lack of match fitness.

Sadly, in all this, instead of putting in motion ways of bringing football back, Zifa and the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) are busy playing blame games on who is responsible for the delay in the return of the game.

The truth of the matter is that the two parties are both guilty as their long-term bickering is the reason why football is where it is today when other sporting disciplines are moving forward.

Nobody disputes that the SRC are the country’s supreme sports regulatory body, but they should be dealing with football matters on the basis of programmes presented by Zifa instead of personal differences which seem to be the undercurrent to the whole issue.

Zifa on their part should not continue to be crybabies. They should not throw stones at other people’s doors for their own failure to deliver. They were in 2020 given the chance to come up with a programme that was acceptable to the government and failed.

Now that they have been given another chance, Zifa should be more organised and come up with a programme that has appeal and leaves no doubts about its chances of success.

Zifa on their part should not continue to be crybabies. They should not throw stones at other people’s doors for their own failure to deliver. They were in 2020 given the chance to come up with a programme that was acceptable to the government and failed.

Now that they have been given another chance, Zifa should be more organised and come up with a programme that has appeal and leaves no doubts about its chances of success.

The football federation should be reminded that they are not running football when there is no action on the field of play. Which football would they be referring to when players are sitting at home and doing nothing?

The past one year or so has been very painful for Zimbabwean football lovers and they are becoming restless as the delay is getting longer.

They want football back and it is the duty of the football leaders to make that a reality — not tomorrow, but today

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