The Sunday Mail
ZIFA president Phillip Chiyangwa and his deputy Omega Sibanda might be deep in the trenches, campaigning for national assembly seats, but the pair also appears to be putting their ducks in a row on the football front.
Both Chiyangwa and Sibanda have already declared that they will seek re-election, even if their parliamentary bids are successful.
And a tour of the country’s provinces by this publication revealed that the mission to maintain the status quo is well and truly underway.
Most of those rumoured to be interested in taking on Chiyangwa and his camp, which also includes Zifa board finance chief Philemon Machana, are playing their cards close to the chest.
But with area zone, women’s football, beach soccer and futsal elections set to explode across the country on the 14th of next month, it will soon be time for them to show face and draw daggers.
On the flip side, Chiyangwa’s key allies are slowly coming out to state that they too will be seeking re-election.
Some daring ones such as Mashonaland West Zifa chairperson Derick Matapure are already preaching that the Harare property mogul deserves another term in office.
“One of the reasons I am going to seek re-election is because we have to stand by Philip Chiyangwa and vote him back into office, he needs our vote. He has proven to be a good leader and certainly deserves another term,” said Matapure.
“On the personal front, I am confident of bouncing back into office because of the good, traceable work I have done.
“When I came into office we only had two teams in the first division, while we had no representation in the premier league. However, now we have two teams in the Premier League and eight teams in the first division.”
Mashonaland Central Zifa chairman Gilbert Saika also wants another bite at the cherry.
“I have projects that I started, especially in the area of grassroots development, they should come to fruition.
“Ultimately we want all our teams in the province to have Under 20 players so that Zimbabwe can benefit from this junior policy. Besides, clubs in this province are happy with my leadership style,” he said.
Former Zifa Eastern Region Chairperson Piraishe Mabhena, who in March this year resigned in protest over the manner in which Chiyangwa was “ruining and not running” Zifa, is waiting for a signal – not from mama but from the Zifa Assembly.
“I’ll stand guided by the new (Zifa) council once it’s established. If they feel that I have a role to play in taking football forward, I’ll gladly oblige and step up as I’ve always done.
“I am not going to impose myself, because I believe that it is not about you wanting to lead the people but instead it’s about people around you having confidence and asking you to lead them,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Zifa elections committee says they are on course with a road map that should see board elections being held December 1.
Provincial nominations are expected to open on July 23 and close on August 6, with elections set for September 1.
Regional nominations are expected to open on September 3 and close on September 17, with elections tentatively set for October 14.
Zifa executive committee nominations are scheduled to open on October 16 and close on October 30.