The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) is undecided on who to vote for among the five candidates vying for the Fifa presidency in Friday’s polls for the most powerful job in world football.
The elections are set for the Fifa headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, and Zifa will be represented at that congress by president Phillip Chiyangwa, his deputy Omega Sibanda, as well as secretary-general Jonathan Mashingaidze.
Chiyangwa – who will be at the international football gathering for the first time following his election on December 5 last year – will carry the mantle of casting the Zimbabwean vote.
However, the flashy businessman confessed that none of the members in Zifa has an idea on those running for the post, saying they would only decide on their choice after consultations with other national associations.
“As Zifa, we haven’t settled for anybody yet. In Zimbabwe, nobody really knows these people and so we cannot make our choice now,” said Chiyangwa, who was in South Africa on Thursday to seek the views of the South African Football Association.
The five candidates running for the powerful position are Gianni Infantino of Switzerland, Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa of Bahrain, France’s Jerome Champagn, Jordan’s Ali Bin Al-Hussein and South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale.
Chiyangwa said it would be disastrous for them to wander into the uncharted waters and make their choice without listening to what the others think. “I will consult when I am there and then make up my mind,” he said.
However, sources have revealed that Zifa are in favour of Prince Bin Ali Hussein – whom Chiyangwa met and discussed with during his visit to Dubai recently. Chiyangwa denied they are backing Hussein.
“He is a candidate, I am a voter. I was travelling on other football-related business in Dubai and that is where I met him. I cannot definitely say who Zimbabwe is voting for,’’ said Chiyangwa.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) – the biggest of the six confederations that make up Fifa – have resolved to back Sheikh Salman, although there has been resistance from a number of football federations, with Liberia being the most vocal.
Chiyangwa himself said CAF could not tell them whom to vote for. “CAF cannot tell us who to vote for. We will make our decision and that will be our choice,” he said.
Chiyangwa, along with Sibanda and Mashingaidze, are leaving on Wednesday. Mashingaidze attended the last Fifa presidential elections in 2015 where the then Zifa boss Cuthbert Dube voted for Sepp Blatter who was contesting against Prince Bin Ali Hussein of Jordan.
Dube had been expected to attend this upcoming Fifa election, but his four-year reign was cut short after the Zifa Council passed a vote of no confidence on him on October 3 last year, which saw him being replaced by Chiyangwa two months later.
The Fifa presidential post fell vacant after Blatter was banned for eight years following allegations of corruption during his tenure. In 2015, Blatter secured another term after a 133-73 election vote victory over Hussein.