The World!

namusi.jpgBy Simbarashe Namusi


The world’s greatest football spectacle, more commonly known internationally as the “Fifa World Cup” is fast nearing the business end. In less than a week from now, new world champions will be crowned, the bee-like drone of the vuvuzela will die out and life will return to painful normalcy.


Lasting memories and talking points have been created in equal measure and this is what makes football the world’s beautiful game. Some of the feelings evoked in us as a result of football rank amongst the most unsavory but I digress.

So the purists at the headquarters of football’s world governing body have claimed the moral high ground by threatening to ban Nigeria from all competitions, because of what has been referred to as “political interference” by the Nigerian government.

Given the fact that Fifa brooks no nonsense with regards to political interference in football matters, we all accepted their threat to mete out punishment on Nigeria as being justified and in accordance with statutes.


On second thoughts however, I beg to differ.  While I do not agree with the Nigerian President’s decision and believe it is based more on emotion than logic, I also believe that Fifa are being two-faced in the extreme. This is because while Fifa frowns upon perceived political interference, the same organisation expects and demands political support.


For those who may not know, Zimbabwe won the right to host the 2000 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations. After protracted debate and alleged political machinations, the country lost the same right to host the tournament. Among the many reasons advanced for this development was that no progress had been made in upgrading and constructing stadia. Another was that the Government of Zimbabwe had not made a commitment to underwrite the tournament. In simple terms the government had not given FIFA a guarantee to sponsor the tournament.


What this implies is that while FIFA is comfortable with government (read political) support and the ensuing consumption of tax payers’ hard earned cash, the same organisation does not want the tax payers, through their government, to have a say in how their money is spent.  This smacks of double standards.


If FIFA demands, expects and gets government support be it technical, logistical, moral or financial, then in equal measure FIFA should expect and accept government interference. It is only fair. After all, he who pays the piper calls the tune. When is interference interference? I stand corrected.


Still on matters football, there is the small matter of a man called Luis Suarez.  For those who do not know, this is the man who “saved” Uruguay from certain defeat at the hands of Ghana by committing the most blatant handball I have had the opportunity to witness in my life time.


If FIFA honestly believe in fair play I believe Suarez should face further sanction than the red card he received; for the simple fact that not only did he cheat his way to victory but he has told any one who cares to listen that his handball is the real “Hand of God” and he does not regret his actions.


Now, if coaches face disciplinary actions for their comments about referees’ performances, why should FIFA spare a blatant cheat who shows no remorse for altering the course of history, robbing a team and an entire continent and then adding insult to injury?
The feelings football evokes in us are at times unsavory………