The Sunday Mail
FIREBRAND Zimbabwe Football Association president Philip Chiyangwa has revealed that he will ban more individuals “bent on destroying football” and declared that nothing will stop him from contesting next year’s elections.
According to Chiyangwa, ZIFA will soon proceed and sue the association’s former boss, Cuthbert Dube, and his “cronies” and force them to pay the debt they accrued during their tenure.
Under Dube, ZIFA’s debt ballooned from $600 000 to over $7 million in December 2015 when Chiyangwa assumed office.
It is alleged that the previous ZIFA board committed fraudulent transactions which included creation of non-existent debts, inflation of figures and signing of fake acknowledgement of debts.
Speaking to The Sunday Mail shortly after yesterday’s proposed Zifa AGM was adjourned, Chiyangwa said he remains resolute on the need to bring sanity back to the association.
Former ZIFA chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze was banned for life during the week for siphoning hundreds of thousands of dollars from the association.
And Chiyangwa yesterday insisted that more bans were coming.
“Anyone whose motive is to destroy football ought to be destroyed,” declared Chiyangwa in a wide-ranging interview with The Sunday Mail.
“We will also proceed and sue Dube and company and force them to pay their debts. They created this mess and they should clean it,” charged Chiyangwa.
“I have a mandate from FIFA to take down all those bent on destroying the game. Jonathan (Mashingaidze) is a thief who wanted my protection and he should pay for his sins.”
There are also allegations that Mashingaidze abused a $65 000 bailout package availed to ZIFA to avert a FIFA ban from the 2018 World Cup for failing to pay Brazilian coach Valinhos. On his part, the one-of-a-kind Mashingaidze claims that ZIFA owe him $80 000 in outstanding salaries.
“He (Mashingaidze) was at the centre of the fraudulent activities which included creation of unsanctioned loans, disappearing of money or donations without any plausible explanations.
“So you can see that this association was in a total mess and we need more time to clean this up. You see, football is entertainment, there is no place for stealing,” added Chiyangwa.
Hence his decision to renege on a pledge he made not to seek re-election when he came into office in December 2015. “Yes, of course, I will seek re-election, whoever wants to challenge me can come forward,” declared Chiyangwa.
The 2018 ZIFA elections dates are yet to be confirmed but information gathered reveals that they will be held after June. Chiyangwa’s declaration that he will seek re-election comes a week after his leadership qualities were questioned by former ZIFA chairman and losing candidate in 2015 Trevor Carelse Juul.
Juul said ZIFA needed people with previous football experience and noted with regret how the football leadership had been hijacked by “non-football” people at a function to launch the Japhet Mparutsa Foundation in the capital last week. However, in a short WhatsApp chat with this publication, the South African-based business tycoon revealed that he would not contest the 2018 elections.
“It’s a no!” Juul said. On the contrary, Chiyangwa whose football profile has risen astronomically since taking over in 2015, wants to complete his mission before paving way for a new leadership.
After his ascent to the top post, Chiyangwa added more feathers to his cap as he is now the COSAFA president as well as the vice president of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Committee – a key post he landed in May.
“I will be in football until I am up, up there. We operate in a democratic system, so I can also change my mind and say now I want this.
“And I am saying come 2018 I will throw my hat into the ring