ZIFA president Phillip Chiyangwa has disclosed that he met with Caf president Issa Hayatou in Johannesburg, South Africa earlier this month and “exhaustively” discussed issues that have seen the relationship between the pair hitting an all time low.
Chiyangwa made the revelations yesterday as he responded to the latest letter from Caf secretary general Hicham El Amrani who had expressed reservations about a celebration dinner hosted in Harare on Thursday night and was graced by Fifa president Gianni Infantino.
In his letter, Amrani revealed that Chiyangwa’s move to invite Infantino and several football federation leaders to celebrate his belated birthday as well as his Cosafa presidential victory will be on the agenda the next time the Caf executive committee meets.
However, in his scathing response, the Zifa and Cosafa president accused Amrani of being petty and questioned why the CAF secretary general had not mentioned the February 17 meeting between Chiyangwa, Hayatou and Caf vice president Almamy Kabele Camara.
“You seem to be unaware that at the specific instance and request of the 2nd Vice President of CAF, Mr Almamy Kabele Camara, I had the pleasure of meeting both the President of CAF and the Vice President in Johannesburg on the 17th of February 2016. The contents of your earlier letter and of my response were duly exhaustively discussed in our meeting with issues of mutual concern aptly clarified between the parties,” wrote Chiyangwa.
“I therefore note with concern, that notwithstanding the meeting that I held with the President and Vice President of CAF on the subject, your latest correspondence conspicuously and rather curiously, does not at all mention the meeting specially convened by the CAF presidency.
“This is particularly startling as in your earlier letter you had advised that you were writing under the instruction of the CAF President. Surely if I have since met with the CAF president it would be important for you to capture the record of that engagement in your letter. The issues you have mentioned in your letter are exactly the same that were discussed in my meeting with the CAF Presidency.”
Chiyangwa insists that Thursday night’s celebrations were a private function and not a gathering that sought to brainstorm on how to destabilise Caf as sensationally alleged by Amrani in a letter he wrote before the bash.
Chiyangwa accused Amrani of majoring on the minor.
“Mr Secretary General it is disheartening to note that you appear fixated at finding a negative in the positive developments that have happened in my personal life and Zimbabwean football. I believe that your esteemed office has an institutional responsibility to be supportive of a member federation rather than to be needlessly unpropitious,” he said.
“As I have already indicated, having met with the CAF President and discussed the issue I find no basis for your placing this matter on the agenda of the CAF executive committee.
“However if you still consider it necessary to detain the whole executive committee with such a petty issue, it would only be just and equitable for the record of my discussions with the CAF Presidency to be correctly and objectively presented through affording equal opportunity to both parties to be heard.
“Your strange total avoidance of mention of the meeting does not give me the assurance of your objectivity on the issue. I therefore fully reserve my rights at law should any deliberations be prejudicial to my interests and standing.”
Chiyangwa reminded Amrani that Zimbabwe “is separately and independently a full member of Fifa which enjoys the rights to host and receive the Fifa President and any other delegation from Fifa…”
“Indeed on the 24th of February 2017, at the instance of Fifa, the Fifa President duly met with Zimbabwe’s football leaders and matters pertaining to Zimbabwe’s football development were discussed. There is no nexus of any nature whatsoever between the personal celebrations I had with my fellow African brothers and the Fifa President on the 23rd of February 2017 and the exclusively Zimbabwean-Fifa engagement on the 24th of February 2017,” he said.
Relations between the Caf leadership and Chiyangwa took a knock after the Zifa boss announced that Cosafa will vote in bloc for Ahmad Ahmad the Malagasy football leader who will challenge Hayatou in elections slated for next month.
Chiyangwa is also Ahmad’s election agent.