The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
ZIFA’S election season comes to an end today at the Zifa Village in Harare when councillors decide who will lead the most popular sport in the country for the next four years.
The election of Zifa’s executive committee brings to an end a drama-filled campaign that has seen some candidates being barred and then given the green light to contest. The plebiscite presents a litmus test for Philip Chiyangwa who has been at the helm of the football governing body since 2015 as former fellow executive member, Felton Kamambo decided to challenge him for the president’s post.
The fight of the vice-presidency involves incumbent, Omega Sibanda and former Njube Sundowns director, Gift Banda. Four executive committee member positions are up for grabs and with six candidates who have remained in the race, it is set to be an interesting election.
Incumbent board member, Philemon Machana is set to be up against, Manica Diamonds secretary-general, Sugar Chagonda, Central Region chairperson, Stanley Chapeta, Southern Region board member, Bryton Malandule, former Chicken Inn treasurer, Mlungisi Moyo, who had initially been barred from taking part and Chamu Chiwanza.
The importance of the election is highlighted by the fact that Fifa has sent a four member delegation to observe the polls which is led by Fifa Head of Member Associations Governance Services, Luca Nicola, Malawi Football Association president, Walter Nyamilandu, who sits in the Fifa Council, Fifa senior Governance Services manager, Laura Dijak and Fifa Senior Development Manager, Solomon Mudege.
Zifa communications manager, Xolisani Gwesela confirmed the presence of the four officials in the country yesterday. Chiyangwa has had a muted campaign after initially celebrating retaining his post without a challenge but has insisted his achievements at the helm of the game will do the talking.
“I look at what we have achieved with my team. My achievements are not my own. I have had a team that has worked very hard to make sure we got to the top again. That team includes Omega Sibanda and Philemon Machana.
“Our women’s team was at one time number two in the region. They made us proud at the Olympics. We have been fulfilling our obligations to play internationally. Our men’s team has been doing extremely well with two Cosafa titles under my watch,” he was quoted saying by our sister paper, The Herald.
He said he also has worked to bring internationally based Zimbabweans to the national team while ending squabbles that had become permanent features of the top echelons of the local games.
Kamambo, who resigned from the executive committee in March citing expiry of the board’s term, however, believes there is disillusionment with the way the game has been run and stakeholders are itching for change.
He said football should be run as a business and feels there is a toxic environment in the sport that is not conducive for the smooth flow of business.
In his election manifesto Kamambo said he will work towards the re-establishment of the FA Cup, the introduction of the Zifa awards put more funds towards development.
He said Zifa should come up with more revenue streams to ensure all its activities are adequately funded and wants to see the association own businesses such as mines and farms instead of only relying on Fifa and Caf funding.