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Caf, Car: Birds of the Same Feather

THE well-document organisational bankruptcy of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) is so embarrassingly blatant to the extent of being awfully damaging to the image of the continent and its people.


Caf is entirely an embodiment of African vices, representing everything that is wrong about this continent — incompetence and myopia.

Zimbabweans know all about Caf. I won’t go into detail lest I digress from the issue at hand: the Confederation of African Rugby (Car).
Warning: Any name resemblance is NOT coincidental.
It would seem the two share notes because pretty much everything I’ve said of Caf applies to Car.
Car, the body purporting to administer the game of rugby on the continent, is led by Aziz Bougja, a Moroccan.
Poor Zimbabwe have  faced the fullest brunt of Car.
Fixtures are fixed to give the opposition unfair advantage, hosting countries get away with bad treatment of Zimbabwean teams, and officiating is outrageously biased.
Car’s arrant betrayal of Zimbabwe reached alarming levels three weeks ago when its executive reached the decision during the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in Kenya, to take away from Zimbabwe the IRB World Junior Championships Africa Zone qualifiers originally scheduled for August in Harare.
Kenya will now host the tournament.
The reason given was that Zimbabwe posed a health risk due to cholera. This is all odd. Why, now, when official statistics prove that prevalence has gone down and when cholera has not been a big issue in recent months. When, in fact, even at the disease’s highest prevalence, Harare or Bulawayo would still be cleaner and safer than, say, Nairobi and most of these sub-Sahara African capitals.
Ironically, a Kenyan is a member of that Car executive that made the decision to move the tournament away from Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe were not present to defend themselves.
Because of our unfortunate situation brought about by years of misrule, fellow African countries now think we are less human than them, that we are second-class citizens and that our feelings don’t matter. But they are naïve. They are unaware that even under the circumstances, we are still far better in many aspects compared with our African brethren. And one fine day, this nation will surely reclaim its former glory.
Then, and only then, people might change their attitudes.
Then organisations like Car will look back and realise that what they did was not right.
Who will forget only last year, when the Senegal rugby team refused to travel to Zimbabwe for a World Cup qualifier on unfounded security grounds?
The International Rugby Board was at its hypocritical worst in dealing with the situation.
After it became clear that the Senegalese wouldn’t come to play in Bulawayo, I sent questions to one Cliffie Booysen, the IRB regional director for Africa, enquiring about the course of action to be taken against Senegal.
In the worst form of disregard, I got no response from Booysen even after resending the questions.
Maybe we shouldn’t expect anything good from a man who is employed by IRB, an organisation that is propounding the reduction of World Cup teams from 20 to 16 in what would be massive treachery to the legacy of France 2007 when Tier Two and Tier Three nations such as Argentina, Fiji, Georgia and Tonga all showed vast improvement and even threatened to change the old world order. Now of all times, they are talking of reducing teams!
Maybe we shouldn’t expect anything good from an organisation that has a non-existent track record in doing anything for the global game in around a century.
Maybe, too, we shouldn’t expect anything an organisation whose powerhouse member countries such as New Zealand, Ireland and even South Africa are non-committal on opposing a World Cup reduction.
Even South Africa!
Aren’t they mindful of their own role in helping Namibia not just stay in the World Cup, but also compete with the top sides? Aren’t they mindful of their role in helping Zimbabwe return to the biggest stage? Why do they want a reduction? Are they happy to see more Beasts, Mujatis and Chavhangas turn up for the Boks instead of their country of birth?
And Kenya, who suddenly have become the darling of Car and IRB: are they better than Zimbabwe?
They are good at international Sevens now, not because they have better rugby players, but simply because they got IRB core nation status ahead of Zimbabwe. Because they feature in all eight tournaments of the IRB World Sevens Series, naturally they have improved.
Anyway it’s only Sevens. I would like to challenge the Kenyans to prove themselves against Zimbabwe in a Test match in Harare or Nairobi at the proper version of the game, fifteens.
Maybe that would settle matters and earn Zimbabwe the fair treatment that it deserves like everyone else.

BY ENOCK MUCHINJO

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