ZIFA ELECTION FACE-OFF

The Chronicle

Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE much-awaited Zifa elective annual general meeting takes place tomorrow, with councillors expected to elect a new board that will serve a four-year term.

All board positions are up for grabs, with Phillip Chiyangwa, who is seeking to extend his term as president, being challenged by former board member, Felton Kamambo.

There is also a battle royale pitting incumbent Omega Sibanda and Gift Banda for the vice presidency.

Kamambo, Banda and aspiring board member Mlungisi Moyo have Fifa to thank for being allowed to contest after initially being controversially barred from standing by the Zifa Electoral Committee.

Moyo, Phillemon Machana, who is seeking another term, Stanley Chapeta, Bryton Malandule, Chamu Chiwanza and Sugar Chagonda are all vying for four board seats.

Banda spent Wednesday night in police cells and released on the following day on bail, after being picked up by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc).

Despite being investigated by the commission, Banda believes he has covered enough ground to beat Sibanda, who is equally confident of victory.

Gift Banda

So, what is it that the candidates have been selling to the councillors?

Sibanda was quoted saying: “We will make sure that the National Association of Primary School Heads (Naph) and their secondary counterparts are properly aligned to the Zifa calendar and that they also receive the full grants, which other members receive. These grants are not for individual clubs, but are specifically for junior development.

“In all our provinces, we have got junior structures and some of our PSL teams have got junior teams and it’s those teams, those provinces as well as women’s football that will fully benefit from these grants.

“I am therefore urging all Premier Soccer League teams to have junior structures so that they can access these funds for the purpose of developing grassroots football, but all this and more will be revealed by the president Phillip Chiyangwa at the weekend congress.”

Banda has promised to devote his energy to delivering football from the “clutches of self-serving individuals who think they are bigger than football”.

“May I assure the congress and millions of Zimbabweans that I will serve the people’s game to the letter once elected into office and that I shall be accountable to the Zifa congress as a servant leader.

“In my candidature, I’m talking about taking the game of football back to its owners, back to the councillors. Going around the country, the first question I asked the councillors was that “are they in control of football’, and all of them have been giving me the same answer that they were not. What has been happening in the past is that councilors vote in the executive and once they are in office, they usurp powers of the councillors. Our major problem in soccer is based on constitutionalism. The executive has deviated from following the constitution.

“I feel and believe they are lacking in terms of running our football based on the constitution and finding our committees that don’t require money and it’s sad. The electoral committee as well as the appeals committee, which were not ratified by the assembly, are a clear breach of the constitution,” said Banda.

He added that he would want to see the Fifa grant given to Zimbabwe “visibly” filtering through to the grassroots and the country improving women’s football, which has potential to be a powerhouse in Africa, as well as coming up with feasible policies that will identify, nurture and develop talent from the grassroots.

Besides the elections, councillors will also decide on the change of season, aligning the local calendar with that of Caf competitions.

The Zifa assembly is also going to deliberate on the association’s financials, and there were reports that some pages of the audit report sent to councillors last week are missing. — @ZililoR