FIFA REBUKE KAMAMBO . . . Zurich put ZIFA challenger in his place . . . Confirm polls will go ahead next week

Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
FIFA have issued a stern rebuke to ZIFA presidential candidate Felton Kamambo over his wild conspiracy theories, while reiterating that polls for the local football controlling body will go ahead as scheduled next weekend.

The communication from FIFA Secretary-General Fatma Samoura is a crippling setback for Kamambo, who has been falsely claiming he has the backing of the world football governing body in his boardroom battles with ZIFA.

It also confirms The Herald’s consistent reporting on the matter since Kamambo launched his bid to try and unseat ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa.

It’s the latest major setback for Kamambo in a week after he was left out in the cold after another ZIFA elections contestant Gift Banda, who is battling for the vice-presidency, said he was ready to do battle in the poll on December 16.

Banda will tackle incumbent Omega Sibanda for the post of vice president.

It is a six-horse race for the four slots available for the ordinary executive committee posts in which current board member finance Philemon Machana has been joined in the contest by Chamu Chiwanza, Sugar Chagonda, Mlungisi Moyo, Brighton Malandule and Stanley Chapeta. But it is Kamambo who has been hogging the limelight for the wrong reasons since he went on a spirited campaign to dislodge the board from which he resigned in March.

The former Central region chairman resigned along with Piraishe Mabhena and later urged Chiyangwa and the rest of colleagues on the board to follow suit.

But then as now, that hit a snag, with the ZIFA Congress dismissing the pair’s resignations as a non-event that would not shake the football administrative corridors in the country.

It is his rebuttal by FIFA in just a week before the ZIFA polls that leaves a dent on Kamambo’s credibility, especially in view of the sensational claims he had been making of the support from the world soccer governing body.

Kamambo had also been telling anyone who cared to listen to him, including some social media hawks, that FIFA would not endorse the rescheduled December 16 date that had been set by the ZIFA Electoral Committee.

Instead, the former board member had wanted the elections deferred to January and wrote to FIFA seeking the Zurich body’s backing for his bid.

But before FIFA had responded, Kamambo suffered a setback when Banda, who just like him, was reinstated into the election process after being initially disqualified, endorsed the revised programme and has since intensified his campaign trail.

And on Wednesday, FIFA, through their secretary-general Samoura, dealt Kamambo a huge blow and confirmed that the ZIFA polls would go ahead as advised by the electoral committee on December 16. Samoura also strongly rebuked Kamambo for suggesting that FIFA’s director for development in Africa Veron Mosengo-Omba was compromised and should not be allowed to observe the ZIFA polls.

The FIFA secretary-general was unequivocal in her letter to Kamambo.

“We refer to your letters dated 12 and 30 November 2018 and other communications in relation to the electoral process of the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA).

“In this context we would like to inform you that FIFA, upon receipt of various allegations in relation to ZIFA’s electoral process (including yours) has sought explanations from the ZIFA administration and its electoral committee.

“Eventually and as already pointed out to you as reflected in your correspondence dated 30 November 2018, FIFA was informed that the electoral committee’s decision to declare you ineligible to contest in tie ZIFA elections had been reversed and that you are now an official candidate for the ZIFA presidency.

“Furthermore, and upon further inquiry we were informed that ZIFA’s elective congress is now scheduled to take place on 16 December 2018 in line with the two weeks’ notice required to submit the finalist of candidates to the members of ZIFA (cf. art.32 par.7 of the ZIFA Statutes),” Samoura said.

That official position by FIFA on the election dates meant that Kamambo’s proposal to have the polls deferred to at least January 5, 2019 or any day thereafter had been thrown out by the world body.

FIFA also made no secret of their disappointment with Kamambo’s wild claims that Mosengo-Omba was compromised because the director of development had a cordial relationship with the Chiyangwa leadership.

Samoura was not amused by Kamambo’s claims which she said bordered on defamation of their director for Africa and the Caribbean.

“Finally, we would like to seize this opportunity to inform you that FIFA will deploy a delegation to Harare to observe the electoral proceedings.

“In this context, we strongly repudiate the unfounded and defamatory allegation that Mr Veron Mosengo-Omba, FIFA director Africa and Caribbean region, would be in any way compromised or partial with regard to the ZIFA elections.

“We thank you for taking note of the above,” wrote Samoura.

The letter was also copied to ZIFA and the Confederation of African Football.

In the last of his correspondence to FIFA, Kamambo had questioned the integrity of Mosengo-Omba as well as that of Vusilizwe Vuma’s ZIFA Electoral Committee.

Kamambo had suggested that should FIFA dispatch a delegation to Zimbabwe, their director for Africa and the Caribbean region would have to recuse himself for his alleged links with Chiyangwa, who is also the COSAFA president.

He also copied the letter to the Sport and Recreation Commission.

Kamambo literally wanted FIFA to take over the electoral process after expressing strong reservations with the Vuma committee.

“My appeal is that if these elections are to go ahead, they must be done in accordance with the ZIFA constitution. I am recommending at least 30 days so that elections can be held on the 5th of January 2019 or any day after.

“FIFA must come and supervise the elections, but not Veron, who is a close confidante of Philip Chiyangwa.

“The current electoral committee must be dissolved for reasons mentioned above and in my other communications. I have lost confidence in them because they are captured. The last appeal is for the ZIFA secretariat to relocate to neutral premises with immediate effect than be housed at the presidential candidate’s offices,” read part of Kamambo’s letter.

However, FIFA have made their decision and revealed their international observers will be in Harare for the December 16 polls.