Zifa longest-serving councillor Brian Chishanga’s stranglehold on Midlands province appears to have run its course after his closest ally Pervious Mathe emerged as his biggest contender ahead of the football governing body’s provincial elections slated for September 1.
BY TERRY MADYAUTA in Gweru
Chishanga has been part of the Midlands provincial structures since 1997 and to date he has played a key part in steering the ship in the province for the past 21 years, serving as chairman for the last three terms.
The veteran football administrator, who is a key ally of Zifa boss Philip Chiyangwa, however, faces a decisive moment in his career, amid strong indications that clubs have ganged up to dethrone him.
Ironically, Chishanga and Mathe have worked closely together with the latter serving as secretary-general since 2014, but things have taken a new twist ahead of the much-awaited provincial polls.
Mathe is leading a five-member team that includes George Sibangani (vice-chairman) and the quartet of Brian Musundire, Solomon Nyathi, Petros Phiri and Farayi Ngulube, who are set to become executive committee members having gone through the nominations uncontested.
In an interview with Standardsport last week, Mathe said there was need for new blood to spearhead Zifa provincial affairs.
“I think it is time to usher in a new crew into office. We want to initiate things that help us develop football at a provincial level, starting from grassroots,“ said Mathe.
“Perhaps it is just time to get new ideas from other members, administrators that have been on the periphery. I think we represent the development we want in our province.
“We respect the outgoing chairman because he has led the province for a very long time now and has marked his long spell with a number of developments and I am sure everyone is grateful.
“But it is time to let new blood do the rest while the elders take advisory roles.”
A veteran football administrator, Chishanga, however, feels betrayed by Mathe whom he described as a “rebellious man”.
“It is the rebellious attitude that he has got, he is not an achiever. The president of this country has said zero tolerance to corruption, but he is using state resources to do his campaign,” Chishanga said.
“He is using police telephones to do everything in his campaign. He is using police vehicles in the campaign and I have taken this issue to the anti-corruption commission.
“My team is very much aware of the matter because he should use his own resources just like what we are doing.
“In fact, the teams are angry because he failed to deliver as the secretary. I wonder what he will do if he becomes the chairman.”
However, Chishanga is confident of retaining his position as the Midlands provincial chairman.
“My campaign so far is going according to plan. I have four centres and four campaign managers that are doing work in Zvishavane, Gweru, Kwekwe-Zhombe and Gokwe-Nemudziya,” he said.
“I expect the clubs to retain me due to the good work that I have been doing for them.”
Should Chishanga be removed from office, it would be a major blow to the incumbent Chiyangwa, who would have been banking on his support during the upcoming Zifa board elections to be held later this year.
Already eyebrows have been raised after six provincial chairpersons were reportedly set to be retained unopposed after nomination forms were allegedly withheld by the provincial chairpersons until the close of nominations.
The provincial chairpersons who were retained unopposed included Dennis Tshuma (Matabeleland North), Kuziwa Nyabeze (Manicaland) Nkosilathi Ncube (Matabeleland South), Robert Tembo (Harare), Nobioth Magwizi (Masvingo) and Derrick Matapure (Mashonaland West).