There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…, reads Ecclesiastes 3:1.
BY ALBERT MARUFU
For Zifa vice-chairman Ndumiso Gumede, time is up for him to leave Zifa, an association he has served in different capacities since being invited as a committee member by then Minister of Youth, Sport and Recreation Joice Mujuru in 1980.
His term in the current Zifa executive ends this month with new office bearers being voted into office on March 29.
It has been a journey that has seen him coming face-to-face with the association’s tribal wars, back- stabbing, heartbreaks from two divorces, the Warriors’ soaring success, and underperformance and among the most downcast moments, the match-fixing scandal that rocked the nation.
“It is now time I devoted my energy to looking for someone in my life who will wake me up every morning,” said the 68-year-old bachelor.
Gumede, a divorcee since 1993 added; “I like football and sadly, it cost me one of my marriages when one of my former wives asked me to choose between her and football and I chose the latter. With that, the marriage was over.”
The former Highlanders chairman will however continue serving in the CAF Appeals Committee and also as Fifa Interpol match fixing trainer.
“Though football made me poorer, I have no regrets. It was about sacrifice and I remember using my car to ferry players to a match while at Highlanders. There have been negatives and our failure to lure sponsors ranks among the worst. Zimbabwean football can be in a better position with proper funding,” said the former ZBC continuity announcer.
“I am also not happy with how Fifa handled the Asiagate issue. Fifa sent Chris Eaton to supervise how we had conducted the investigations and he gave his blessing promising funding for the association. Now Fifa has reneged on its promise. This left Zifa with a debt of nearly US$1 million.”
Gumede added that the Ministry of Tourism and Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA)’s failure to honour their pledge to fund the Brazil v Zimbabwe friendly match in 2010 still disappointed him.
“We have documented proof that the Ministry of Tourism and ZTA pledged to sponsor the match, but they failed to do so, leaving Zifa with a US$600 000 debt from Kentaro,” he said.
Gumede, who was Schools Sports Master while teaching at Highfield Secondary School in 1969, became a Highlanders executive’s representative in Harare in 1974.
“I was friends with Highlanders player Josiah Nxumalo and when I was transferred to Bulawayo’s Mzilikazi High School in 1975, I joined the Highlanders fundraising committee. That time Highlanders was sponsored by Alfred Zwambila. I worked with his wife in the finance committee,” he said.
In 1978 he became the club’s executive chairman and was instrumental in making sure that the club returned to the Super League following their break away in 1975 to form the South Zone.
“In 1975 Highlanders felt cheated by Dynamos to the championship and they broke away from the main league administered in Harare. I negotiated that we return to the national league in 1979,” he said.
By negotiating Bosso’s return to the national league, Gumede had shown traits of a national leader and the government took notice towards the end of 1980 when he was invited to join the Morone Mushambadope-led executive.
“The first executive committee included Mushambadope, Douglas Mkwananzi and Frank Valdamarca among others. Mushambadope was later replaced my Nelson Chirwa,” said Gumede who obtained his refereeing certificate in 1981.
“In 1983 we were voted out of Zifa on the pretext that there were too many Ndebeles in the association. I failed to understand this because it was only me and Mkwananzi.”
The exclusion did not go down well with Gumede who decided not to have anything to do with football and became the chairman of Highlanders Basketball Club.
I AM QUITTING FOOTBALL FOR GOOD: GUMEDE
after the resignation of the then Highlanders chairman Malcolm King in 1985, Ndumiso Gumede was persuaded by the late Joshua Nkomo to lead the famous Bulawayo side.
“The late Dr Joshua Nkomo and Mkwananzi persuaded me to take up the position. However, problems again arose at Zifa and I became the association’s vice chairman in 1987,” he said.
His insurance work took him to Harare and he had to quit the vice chairman post because the then constitution demanded that the president be from Harare while the vice chair be from Bulawayo.
“I became the Zifa acting secretary general following the resignation of Julius Chifokoyo. I became the substantive secretary in 1989 but left the country to follow my wife to Botswana in 1991. In Botswana I helped Notwane Chiefs,” he said.
However, Valdamarca asked him to come back to the country to work as the first full-time chief executive officer in 1998 until 2004.
“I was relieved of my position in 2004 with the coming in of the Rafiq Khan executive. The new executive led by Khan said they were not comfortable working with me because of my closeness to the previous chairperson and later acting chairperson Vincent Pamire. Ironically, the current president Cuthbert Dube was treasurer in the Khan executive,” he said.
Gumede added that he continued to work as a match commissioner.
“In February 2012, I found two cars parked at my gate with a message from Dube that he wanted me to be his running mate in Zifa elections.
I contested for the first vice presidency against Kenny Ndebele and won after a rerun. This time I am taking a rest and there is no turning back,” he said.