Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
VETERAN football administrator, Ndumiso Gumede is set to be among those honoured for their outstanding efforts in the sport since the country attained independence.
The Zimbabwe Football Association is set to hold the inaugural Zifa Awards on 11 November at a venue to be announced in Harare. During his time as a football administrator Gumede assumed various roles at Highlanders and Zifa.
At Highlanders he was a committee member before being elevated to chairman and then later had a stint as chief executive officer. At Zifa he held the post of committee member, vice-chairman and secretary general and CEO over varying periods.
Sources at Zifa confirmed Gumede will be among a host of administrators set to be honoured by Zifa despite earlier falling out with the current Philip Chiyangwa-led administration that froze him out of the game but later rescinded the ban.
Zifa vice-president and Awards Committee chairman, Omega Sibanda declined confirming Gumede would be among those honoured but said those who played a role in football development since the attainment of independence in 1980 would be recognised.
He said they will be honouring those who played a role in shaping the local game and guiding it to various successes that have been scored.
“These will be the first such awards and their creation was informed by the need to honour those who have played a critical role in the game and encourage others to do well. We are looking at creating a Hall of Fame of football, it will be our heroes acre that would tell the history of the game through those that are honoured,” said Sibanda revealing the awards have been set for 11 November in the capital.
He said those who worked hard to ensure local players find opportunities abroad will also be honoured. Sibanda they will make sure local football greats based abroad will also be in attendance.
“We are planning a huge and memorable event hence we will be inviting football stakeholders from outside the country. Top continental and international football names are expected to grace the event that will be broadcast live not only in Zimbabwe but across Africa. We are in talks with broadcasters and we would soon be announcing on the broadcasting details,” he said.
Teams that have also excelled in various aspects that include representing the country well abroad, exhibiting finesse in administration and grooming juniors will also be given accolades. Journalists are also in line for awards.
Sibanda said they are aiming at uniting the football fraternity with this event. Legends, administrators and referees of note will also be rewarded.
“Some may feel antagonistic over things that have happened before but we want to forget that and put football first. Nothing can discount the role that some have played in developing the game and it would be folly for us to sideline anyone. It won’t help us in anyway but acknowledging what people have done will bring greater unity and I think more collaboration in the sport,” he said. — @rasmthembo