Banning of Simataa, Mtine Excessive

FOR many years now, the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has been preaching forgiveness and reconciliation in the football family. In his 2013 New Year message, FAZ president Kalusha Bwalya said: “We should always remember and carry with us the resolve to embrace each other’s views and reconcile differences of opinion which are bound to exist among any civilisation.”

Of course like Kalusha stated “we should always remember that dialogue and constructive engagement through the channels that heralded an epoch of respect, fair play and consensus remain cardinal elements.”

But the recent banning for life of football administrators – Simataa Simataa and Andre Mtine – seems to be going against the same spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Of course taking legal action against any member of the football family (like in the Simataa case) is a breach of football rules. While anarchy is intolerable in any organisation, I think slapping a life ban on someone who has spent most his life in football is too excessive as punishment.

I believe the FAZ disciplinary committee could have been a bit lenient on the duo by giving them some lighter punishment like suspensions maybe for a year or two.

Surely, whatever offences Simataa and Mtine could have committed to Football House, I don’t think that can be compared to the Zimbabwe scenario, where some 15 individuals were banned for life from all football-related activities for their alleged involvement in a match-fixing syndicate infamously known as Asiagate scandal.

In the Zimbabwe case, these people were allegedly involved in match-fixing and illegal betting which is tantamount of football’s spirit of fair play.

I know that, for example, Simataa is a vocal man, who speaks his mind and FAZ are aware of this. As for Mtine, an official at DR Congo club, TP Mazembe, whatever role he could have played in that vicious club versus country tussle involving three Chipolopolo stars – Rainford Kalaba, Stoppila Sunzu and Nathan Sinkala – last year, he equally does not deserve that kind of punishment.

FAZ need to embrace divergent views which are an important component of good corporate governance. The association should also promote the spirit of dialogue with its members after all football is supposed to be a unifier not divisive sport.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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