The Sunday Mail
KENNY NDEBELE is said to be the power behind the Premier Soccer League throne as the battle for the top flight league’s chairmanship heats up.
Nominations for PSL chairmanship elections, set for September 9, closed on Friday with Caps chairman Farai Jere and his Triangle counterpart Lovemore Matikinyidze understood to have declared their intentions for the top job.
The committee, in a statement to The Sunday Mail Sport, revealed that they will now meet on Wednesday to verify the nomination papers before announcing the successful candidates.
“The nominations for PSL positions closed on the 3rd of August 2018. But names of those who submitted will only be known on the 9th when the Electoral Committee sits and verifies credentials of the aspiring candidates,” reads the statement.
But that meeting should be a formality as both Jere and Matikinyidze have the backing of at least three PSL clubs as confirmed by the signatures on their nomination forms.
Jere seemed shoo-in for the PSL chairmanship heading into last month’s Extraordinary General Meeting until it was discovered that his papers were not in order.
Jere’s faulty nomination papers had been signed by Northern Region division one executives Willard Manyengavana and Sweeney Mushonga as well as Yadah Stars chairman, Everson Chatambudza.
However, Article 38 of the PSL constitution stipulates that only members of the PSL are mandated to propose candidates for the office of the chairman.
Having noted that anomaly, the Zifa Electoral Committee was forced to reopen the nomination process, from July 16 to Friday.
Traditionally, and rather embarrassingly in this day and age, the top flight clubs have always voted on regional lines, a classic case of the southern region versus the northern region.
So the expectation is that Matikinyidze, who is reported to have Chicken Inn chairman Lifa Ncube as his running mate, will get the backing of the southern region clubs.
Jere, on the other hand, will have to work hard to get the backing of the northern region clubs, who do not always put up a united front, as well as to prise away some votes from the southern region.
And with the battle for the 18 votes too close to call, there is growing belief that Ndebele holds the gate pass to the throne.
“The man who hold the aces in this election is Kenny Ndebele. He doesn’t look like it but he is a schemer, a very good one at that,” said one PSL governor.
“You cannot survive in football for as long as he has if you don’t know how to play its politics. Kenny knows how to play the politics, remember he was once Highlanders chairman. To me, he is football’s version of the crocodile, a man who is very calculative and goes about his business silently.
“It must be remembered that the guy is a PSL employee and any change in the regime has serious implications on his continued stay in that office. Just look at what happened with Jonathan Mashingaidze at Zifa, Chiyangwa came in and did not renew his contract.”
However, Ndebele insists he has no appetite for football politics.
“I am a civil servant of football,” said the PSL chief executive.
“I don’t get involved with the politics of the game as that is not my area. Talk of me being a supposed power broker is misplaced because I never get involved in the electoral process.
“I am just an employee with an employment contract, and like all the other employees l am guided by what the 18 governors will have decided.
“The 18 governors are my bosses and among them they will choose the chairman without my involvement.”
The top flight league has been without a substantive chairman since the controversial suspension of Peter Dube over “inappropriate conduct” by Zifa in December 2016.
Although Dube’s suspension was later lifted in February this year, the former Bosso chairman did not bounce back at the PSL where Mubaiwa was acting as chairman until his recent jettisoning from Dynamos.