The Sunday Mail
THE build up to Zifa’s December 1 board elections has degenerated into a mudslinging affair, a festival of cheap and below the belt shots.
An affair long on drama and terribly short on substance is seeing accusations of all sorts flying from one end to the other.
Phillip Chiyangwa and Omega Sibanda are accused of using mafia tactics to wade off competition.
Aspiring Zifa presidential candidate Felton Kamambo is accused of making inappropriate overtures towards a Mighty Warriors player and failing an “integrity test.”
Gift Banda, who intends to contest for the Zifa presidency but had his nomination papers thrown out, is accused of manufacturing a fake letter that ostensibly lifts his suspension from football.
The electoral committee says Banda cannot contest the elections because he is going through “rehabilitation.”
But can it be drama when no one claims to be receiving death threats?
Enter Zifa general secretary Joseph Mamutse.
Mamutse is said to be receiving death threats from people who are not too chuffed by the fact that some aspiring candidates have been barred from contesting the elections.
The police are handling that case.
Those who expected a potpourri created by aspiring candidates selling their manifestos ahead of the elections have every reason to be disappointed.
It will sure get worse as election day approaches.
But those seeking some amusement have their popcorn in hand, feet on the table and eyes on the drama that will climax with the elections.
As it stands, Chiyangwa and Sibanda stand unopposed and the pair believes they have already done a “pfee”, a smooth and grand entrance into the two highest offices in local football.
While PC and Omz, as the Zifa president and his deputy like to call themselves, are already toasting to victory and shooting some hilarious videos, their rivals insist it’s not over yet, not by a long shot.
Kamambo and Banda have since written to the Ministry of Youth, Arts, Sports and Recreation, registering their displeasure.
Thankfully the woman in charge of that Ministry, Honourable Kirsty Coventry, appreciates the repercussions of Government interfering with football matters.
Another Kamambo missive went to Zurich where Fifa acknowledged receipt but are yet to reply to it.
But it’s not all gloomy!
The silver lining is that away from the top, there are signs of a new generation of football administrators coming through the ranks.
The arrival of young turks such as Sugar Chagonda, Barry Manandi and Chamu Chiwanza onto the scene ensures that the Zifa board will not be a gathering of old and tired minds.
Chagonda comes with the backing of the Eastern Region and believes his experience in the corporate world is what Zifa needs.
“My experience and expertise in the field of communication, diplomacy and brand management can add value to Zifa and turn it into the brand that everyone wants to be associated with.
“We must be able to create an attractive entity where the corporate world must be bidding to sponsor,” said Chagonda.
Manandi, the 41-year-old co-owner of Northern Region Division One side Al Buraak, decided to run for office on the very night the Warriors played the DRC in an Afcon qualifier at the National Sports Stadium last month.
“That game we played against DRC and the trouble I encountered getting into the stadium gave me the push,” revealed Manandi.
“It’s an idea we had been mooting for a season but on that night I realized that we couldn’t carry on just sitting on the sidelines, we had to step in and try to support and assist the game. So in short, it’s about service to the game.”
Chiwanza is Chiyangwa’s longtime ally but the former Affirmative Action Group president is quick to highlight that he has been involved with the game long before PC became the Zifa boss.
“I worked on various committees such as Mzansi 90 with Cuthbert Dube at the helm. I have been involved in football for decades and even ran the Ziva Kwawakabva Football tournament in Mabvuku where I grew up.
“I am availing myself to serve in the Zifa board because there are football people who have asked me to answer to this national duty call,” said Chiwanza.