It has been an unusually quiet campaign period for incumbent Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa ahead of the much-awaited Zifa elective annual general meeting at the Zifa Village today.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
And the Harare businessman was yesterday in no mood to entertain any questions on his expectations ahead of the elections, while his main rival, former Zifa board member Felton Kamambo was confident of victory.
“I’ve got absolutely nothing to say at all about the elections and I will only speak after tomorrow. I have not said anything on the elections to your papers and I will continue not to,” an irate sounding Chiyangwa told Standarsport yesterday.
Although he has doggedly refused to publicly comment on the elections, Chiyangwa, who took over as Zifa boss in December 2015, is desperate to retain his post and has been accused of going to the extent of employing dirty tricks to try and block his rival’s participation.
Kamambo survived spirited efforts to bar him from participating in the polls after initially being “banned” by the incumbent in an effort to disqualify him from contesting before having his nomination papers thrown out only to be allowed to contest following Fifa’s intervention.
The former Central Region chairman was yesterday brimming with confidence despite having been given little time to campaign ahead of the elections.
“I’m expecting a landslide victory,” Kamambo told Standardsport yesterday. “The response that we have received from the Zifa councillors as well as other football stakeholders during our campaign has been extremely positive. I have been well accepted and I’m confident of victory,” he said.
Kamambo said he believed he was a better candidate than Chiyangwa, who he said had failed to deliver on his promises when he was elected to the helm of the local football mother body in December 2015.
“I believe I am better in every aspect of football management than Chiyangwa, who has failed to deliver what he promised to the Zifa councillors in 2015,” he said.
“I’m a man of action, everything I promise, I deliver and my record speaks for itself. I promise to usher in a new era of transparency, adherence to corporate governance and respect for the association’s constitution.”
The battle between Chiyangwa and Kamambo will be the major highlight of today’s elective congress, which will be supervised by world football governing body Fifa, who have reportedly despatched observers for the polls.
The elections will also see current Zifa deputy president Omega Sibanda and former Southern Region chairperson Gift Banda tussling for the vice-president’s post.
Banda has also been a victim of underhand tactics meant to kick him out of the race. He was arrested on Wednesday and released the following day on bail, after being picked up by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.
Six candidates — namely Sugar Chagonda, Mlungisi Moyo, Chamu Chiwanza, Stanley Chapeta, Philemon Machana and Brighton Malandule — will be vying for the other four slots on the Zifa board.
Media practitioner Barry Manandi, who had initially set sights on one of the Zifa board spots, pulled out citing irregularities in the whole process.
A total of 60 members of the Zifa Council drawn from the Premier Soccer League, provinces, regions, women’s football, the National Association of Primary School Heads (Naph) and National Secondary Schools Heads (Nash), area zones, Futsal, beach soccer and tertiary (colleges and universities) are expected to vote during the elective annual general meeting.
While the major business of the day will be the election of a new board that will serve a four-year term, the Zifa congress will also decide on the change of season, aligning the local calendar with that of CAF competitions.
The Zifa financials will also hog the limelight after a report done by the association’s auditors Baker Tilly Gwatidzo Chartered Accountants without some pages, which contained crucial information was sent to Zifa councillors last week.