Zimbabwe on Tuesday welcomed the lifting of FIFA’s ban on the country’s football association which has rekindled their hopes of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup 2026.
FIFA barred Zimbabwe from participating in international football in February 2022 over government interference in the running of the sport.
FIFA lifted the ban on Monday, only two days before the draw for the African qualifiers for the next World Cup in Canada, Mexico and the USA.
Sports Minister 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.
Last year’s ban followed a decision by the African country’s Sports and Recreation Commission to suspend the board of the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) citing various charges including graft, fraud and sexual abuse of female referees.
On Monday, FIFA, the global football’s governing body, directed for the appointment of a “normalisation committee” to run ZIFA until the election of a new board.
“I hope that we all take this opportunity with both hands and we run full speed ahead at ensuring that Zimbabwe becomes a global phenomenon in the world of soccer,” said Coventry.
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