The Sunday Mail
Goodwill Zunidza Sports Editor
Incumbent Zifa president Cuthbert Dube retained his post after coasting to a decisive victory over his main rival Trevor Carelse-Juul in a hotly-contested election at the Zifa Village yesterday that left the former PSMAS boss at the helm of Zimbabwe football for another four years.
Dube, who first assumed local football’s most coveted position in 2010, polled 44 votes against Carelse-Juul’s 14 in a re-run of their poll after Dube’s first round lead of 34 votes fell short of the required two-thirds threshold that would have handed him the honours in the preliminary attempt.
All 58 Zifa councillors drawn from around the country cast their ballots in the secret vote conducted by the Zifa Electoral Committee, chaired by retired judge Selo Nare.
Two other contestants ran in the first round but both Leslie Gwindi and Nigel Munyati crashed out of the race after amassing a combined 10 votes that were all in favour of the former.
While Carelse-Juul maintained his 14 votes in the outcome of the second round, Dube gained the confidence of an extra 10 delegates, who had presumably first gone Gwindi’s way, to restore his crestfallen leadership that suffered a major dent in the wake of a salary scandal at his erstwhile employer Premier Service Medical Aid Society where he was reported to be earning a staggering $230 000 monthly.
Dube will be deputised by Bulawayo businessman Omega Sibanda, the outgoing Zimbabwe Player Agents’ Association chairman who defeated pre-race favourite Elkanah Dube by 38 votes to 20 to replace veteran administrator Ndumiso Gumede who decided against seeking re-election.
Former Zifa Eastern Region chairman Fungayi Chihuri (49 votes), ex-Njube Sundowns and Chicken Inn official Tawengwa Hara (51), financial expert Bernard Gwarada (48) and Warriors legend John Phiri (42) were all declared board members from a five-man contest whose misfit was ex-Fifa referee Gladmore Muzambi who crashed out after receiving 32 votes.
Recently re-elected Premier Soccer League chairman Twine Phiri and Zimbabwe Women Soccer League chairperson Miriam Sibanda, who was voted into office earlier this month, complete the new eight-member Zifa board, according to dictates of the new Zifa constitution.
A tense atmosphere engulfed the majestically built Zifa Village on the northern outskirts of the city as several football personalities, including former players, administrators and journalists, swarmed the venue and turned it into a carnival atmosphere of rumours and tremors before the much-delayed poll that only began at 2.30pm.
An annual general meeting which was closed to the media kicked off the day’s proceedings in the morning where the national football body’s audited accounts for the past three years done by a private firm, Gwatidzo Chartered Accountants, were presented followed by lengthy addresses by outgoing president Dube and Fifa development officer for Eastern and Southern Africa Ashford Mamelodi.
All, however, seemed pointed in Dube’s direction with thunderous applauses receiving his every word as he spoke to the association’s Assembly, minutes before the plebiscite.