IT’S now official, CAPS United and Dynamos’ rivalry will spill into the Premier Soccer League (PSL) elections as incumbent PSL boss Twine Phiri and Dynamos’ Keni Mubaiwa emerged as the only two candidates for the chairmanship post at the close of nominations last Tuesday.
BY Brian Nkiwane
An intriguing two-horse contest is undoubtedly on the cards for the March 9 elections.
Phiri is the owner and president of CAPS United while Mubaiwa is DeMbare’s chairman.
The elections, which had been initially scheduled for February 23, have since been moved to March 9, with the verification process which was set for February 13 also having been moved to February 28.
Highlanders chairman Peter Dube, who had been rumoured to be the third candidate, is said to have opted for the deputy chair’s post, the same one he was holding in the past executive.
Phiri, who fancies his chances of winning the election, took over the reins at PSL in 2010, succeeding now-parliamentarian Tapiwa Matangaidze.
Because he feels there are still several projects that he started and still needs to complete, Phiri said he felt the need to stay for another term.
Among a host of his achievements as chairman, Phiri has for the past three years managed to lure back sponsors who had flown away.
“I am very much confident of retaining the post. There are a number of things that I have done for the clubs since the time that I came into office. With the assistance of my board, I managed to bring sponsors back into local football, which had gone for a long time with an unbranded league. That on its own is a plus to my CV,” Phiri said.
During his tenure, Phiri managed to negotiate a league sponsorship deal with traditional football sponsors Delta Beverages who made a surprise return to football after years out of the sport.
Phiri’s tenure also saw the coming in of NetOne on a three-year deal to sponsor the season opener, NetOne Charity Shield. There was yet another lucrative deal with local financial institution, BancABC which came in to sponsor the Sup8r Cup.
Then came the biggest of them all — the Mbada Diamonds Cup.
Phiri and his executive negotiated for the country’s richest 16-team tournament with Mbada Diamonds, bringing joy and relief to players, clubs and fans. The tournament itself also had a lot in it for the the benefit of all stakeholders.
In a summary of his positives, Phiri also mentioned the championing of the Supersport deal where clubs benefitted from TV rights although he acknowledged that the proceeds were minimal.
“There is always a beginning in everything. Now we can push for greater things in this deal. Our players have been exposed to other countries through this deal.”
“I can tell you that after all these achievements, the corporate world started appreciating football and big companies started putting money in clubs which they sponsor to keep the league running. We have been pivotal in the negotiation of deals for our top two football teams, Highlanders and Dynamos, with their main sponsors BancABC. We also made sure some of the prohibitive measures were relaxed to allow clubs to have multiple sponsors.”
Phiri added that one other project that he did which he feels will give him an edge to reclaim the hot seat is the Nyaradzo Funeral Score Pack deal.
“We sat down as an executive and saw that clubs were facing challenges with transport. We approached Nyaradzo and they answered our call, they provided buses to most of the PSL clubs. In addition, they gave us a lucrative deal which is now benefitting players at large as well as their supporters.
“In addition to club buses, there is a certain amount of money that is awarded to clubs depending on the number of their supporters that take up the Score Pack Funeral Plan,” he said.
Phiri said although he was not promising heaven on earth, evidence was there that the local league had improved. He cited the just ended African Championships (Chan) in South Africa where the national team comprising local-based players came fourth in the continent.
“If funds permit, we would want to take our league at par with South Africa or surpass that level. If they can do it, what will stop us from doing it? United we can do much better,” Phiri said.
Dynamos chairman Mubaiwa, who boldly declared his challenge for the hot seat, said he was ready for the elections.
“The reason that I decided to stand means I have done my homework and seen chances that I can make it and bring a new face to the league,” Mubaiwa said.
The businessman said he had a lot of ideas in store for what he called “a new look league” in the near future.
“There are lots of developments that I would want done to the league. We would want all the clubs to see where we will be going and where we will be coming from.
“There are a number of things that the current leadership has been failing to address which I think I can handle,” Mubaiwa said.
Pressed to say more on what he thought has not been going well, Mubaiwa said: “There have been hot issues like our sponsors. They have not been happy for a long time. I want to bring back a smile on their faces. As Dynamos, we have for the past years wanted that chairman’s post but it has not been possible, so this time, we are coming for it.
“In the past, there have been cases of two or three clubs failing to fulfill fixtures due to poor planning that characterised our league, this must be a thing of the past.”
Mubaiwa said he was yet to get the ball rolling in terms of campaigns.
“I have been waiting for the verification process to take place. Once it’s over, I will publish my manifesto which I think clubs would like very much and start moving,” he concluded.
Will DeMbare maintain dominance over CAPS, even off the field? Time will tell!