The Sunday Mail
HOW Felton Kamambo dealt with his first crisis as Zifa president was always going to be crucial in defining his reign in local football’s highest office.
Taking over from Phillip Chiyangwa was never going to be easy and the month he has been in office has left Kamambo under no illusions.
But the Zifa president could not have guessed that his first crisis would come from close quarters; he could not have possibly seen Gift Banda coming.
Kamambo’s erstwhile deputy attempted to single handedly change the setup of a Warriors technical team that is a point away from Egypt, the 2019 African Cup of Nations venue.
And chickens are coming home to roost for Banda who has since been suspended “until the next ZIFA Congress where it may be varied or otherwise confirmed by the Congress.”
The Zifa congress is in March.
But why is Banda getting such a slapping?
On January 8 he announced that Zifa had resolved to replace Warriors assistant coaches Lloyd Mutasa and Rahman Gumbo with the pair of Bongani Mafu and Tonderai Ndiraya.
Prior to announcing the supposed changes Banda is understood to have telephoned Kamambo suggesting that changes be made to the Warriors set up “because our football is not exciting.”
Kamambo is said to have argued that Banda’s argument was “neither here nor there” as the Warriors have the Afcon destiny within their hands.
But a seemingly unperturbed Banda went on to announce the changes at a time when Kamambo was away in Senegal for the Caf awards.
“As you know, we are a new board and we are setting the new trajectory which we want to move in,” said Banda as he announced the supposed changes.
But fellow Zifa board members have come out to say they were not part of the charade hence there was no “we” in the coach changes narrative.
They argue it was a Gift Banda show, a perplexing move that had a jobs for the boys ring to it.
Banda’s announcement caught Kamambo by surprise but the Zifa president decided against publicly calling out his deputy.
“There was advice that he issues a statement from Senegal disowning the move that Banda had announced but the Zifa president decided against washing dirty linen in public. He came back and called a board meeting,” said a source plugged into Zifa.
It is at that emergency board meeting in Harare on Wednesday that a decision to suspend Banda was reached.
The move, which came a day after the new board clocked a month in office, has triggered a storm amid claims that Zifa is in a crisis.
On his part, Banda has promised to come back with “a bang” this week through a statement that will supposedly reveal a lot of rot about the new board.
Clearly, we have not heard the last of this tale!
However, what is clear and encouraging is that Kamambo is not afraid to make the difficult decisions.
It would have been easy for Kamambo to turn a blind eye on Banda’s transgressions given the way some PR spin was added to his erstwhile deputy’s misdemeanour.
But nay the 48-year-old Zifa president realised that doing so would have set a wrong precedence.
A precedence of insubordination, a precedence whereby a single man gets to make changes to the national team and gets treated like a hero thanks to a well-oiled PR machine.
Now amid everything, including the kitchen sink, being thrown at him from some quarters Kamambo points out that the Zifa constitution, and not public opinion, will guide his reign.
And the beauty about following the constitution is that anyone, including the Zifa president, who pees on it gets a deserved slapping.
Last week it was Banda’s turn but surely he will not be the last victim if Kamambo walks the talk of respecting football statutes.