It’s only 40 days to go before four men — current president Sepp Blatter, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, Michael van Praag of the Netherlands and former Portugal great Luis Figo — square off for the world’s football biggest job, the Fifa presidency.
By Our Staff
However, the Zifa board is yet to agree on who to vote for as Fifa president in the May 29 elections.
Over the years, Zifa president Cuthbert Dube has expressed undying love for Blatter and is likely to vote for the 79-year-old Swiss.
CAF president Issa Hayatou has assured Blatter that all African football associations are behind him.
But the Zifa have not resolved on who to support as Zimbabwe has a complex relationship with Fifa.
In the face of relentless onslaught by government and several stakeholders recently, the current Zifa leadership has sought sanctuary from the Zurich-based body.
But the Blatter administration humiliated Zifa two years ago by declining to endorse Asiagate match-fixing life bans after a determined Zifa had poured enormous resources and money in investigating the scandal.
Fifa also recently suspended Zimbabwe from taking part in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers over an outstanding salary owed to former Warriors coach Valinhos and that could play a key factor in determining Zimbabwe’s vote.
Prince Ali took advantage of Fifa’s harsh stance on Zimbabwe late last month when he arrived in Harare to canvass for support by meeting both the country’s football and political leadership.
It is not clear whether Dube will attend the Soccerex Asian Forum to be hosted by Jordan on May 3 and 4 after Prince Ali invited all the board members to attend.
Dube and Zifa secretary general Jonathan Mashingaidze were not available for comment last week.
Some board members have expressed interest to attend the Soccerex, putting into question Zimbabwe’s stance.
The board members allege that a councillor asked Zifa president Dube who Zimbabwe was going to vote for during February’s annual general meeting and Dube is said to have answered that the decision was the prerogative of the president.
“We are not sure on who the president will cast his vote for,” said a board member. “He was not clear when he was asked by one councillor during the annual general meeting. He just said it is his right to vote.
“We have not taken a position as a board so we do not know if it is Prince Ali, Blatter or anyone else. When we held a meeting with Prince Ali he centred more on development. He did not promise anything to us as Zifa but Africa as a continent. It is unfortunate we did not have a chance to meet other candidates to hear what they are offering.”
While other countries have been open on who they favour, Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela was tightlipped on Zimbabwe’s choice.
“Zimbabwe will vote for the person who will become Fifa president. We will be very wise in voting. We are confident that person is going to win,” said Gwesela.
Blatter is desperately banking on votes from Africa as he has become unpopular in Europe and the Americas as well as Asia.
He is the eighth president of Fifa and has been at the helm since 1998.