ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa says he is doing the hatchet job for Fifa to remove unpopular football leaders.
Chiyangwa is riding on the crest of a wave after spearheading the fall of African football strongman, Issa Hayatou, at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) congress on Thursday.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE/DANIEL NHAKANISO
He was campaign manager for Madagascar Football Association president Ahmad Ahmad, who beat Hayatou 34-20 to land the top CAF post.
“This is how it works. I wait to get clearance from Fifa on whom to fight, whether to keep somebody or to deal with them. And so with this one [Hayatou’s ouster], I had been given the green light to deal with him and I did it, but it’s a very long story” Chiyangwa said on arrival at Harare International Airport on Friday.
He said the ouster of Hayatou meant “things will begin to happen in Zimbabwe which was not possible in the past”.
“I can’t announce now at the moment, just know there are plenty of things that are going to happen which are good for Zimbabwean football,” he said. “I think that Zimbabwe is now being regarded at the top in football politics because it’s us who crown kings or remove them.”
Chiyangwa, who doubles as the Cosafa boss, enjoys a close relationship with Fifa president Gianni Infantino.
The Fifa boss was in Harare last month for Chiyangwa’s 58th birthday celebrations, which were attended by several African football federation bosses in a bid to shore up support for Ahmad ahead of the election.
The function drew the ire of the Hayatou-led CAF leadership, which said it was an attempt to “destabilise” the African football body.
CAF said at the time, Chiyangwa’s actions and statements appeared to “attack the honour of the confederation, its president and the members of the executive committee”.
Hayatou’s CAF decided to proceed with the case against Chiyangwa at its executive committee meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last Tuesday — two days before the election.
However, there are strong indications that the new CAF leadership will drop the disciplinary case against Chiyangwa following Hayatou’s exit.
And with Ahmad and Infantino in his corner, Chiyangwa now has very powerful allies in world football in a move that could spell doom for the businessman’s domestic rivals.
A number of local football officials have in the past attempted to seek the intervention of the world football governing body without any success.
Former Highlanders chief executive Ndumiso Gumede was last year suspended from football activities over an alleged coup plot after co-authoring a letter to Fifa, seeking to have the Zifa executive committee led by the Chiyangwa board dissolved.
Gumede’s suspension was, however, later lifted.
Trevor Carelse-Juul, a former Zifa presidential aspirant, last year also wrote to world football governing body Fifa accusing Chiyangwa of violating Zifa and Fifa statutes during the 2015 Zifa presidential elections.
Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Peter Dube also remains suspended after being accused of causing the chaos that characterised the debate on the relegation and promotion playoffs between PSL and the four Division One clubs.
His case was last month referred to the review committee.