Ray Bande Senior Sport Reporter
ZIMBABWE Football Association (Zifa) Manicaland chairman Kuziwa Nyabeze believes that a campaign by a clique of rebels who are out to push Philip Chiyangwa from office immediately are not only unconstitutional but unprofessional.
The circus surrounding the Zifa elections started with the football mother body writing to Fifa seeking guidance on the way forward at their Annual General Meeting held in the capital in February.
It is almost two months since Zifa wrote to Zurich, where the Fifa headquarters are located, seeking counsel on how to navigate through the legal minefield.
Last week, Fifa confirmed receiving the letter with a spokesman recently telling our sister paper, The Sunday Mail Sport, that: “FIFA has received correspondence from ZIFA on the latter’s situation, which we are currently studying. We have no further comment to make at this stage.”
But with the world football government board remaining mum on the dates for the next elections, a number of hawks have been circling around Zifa as they jostle for a piece of the pie in the expected feast, amid expectations Chiyangwa’s term of office would end immediately as he was meant to complete Cuthbert Dube’s term.
Zifa board members Piraishe Mabhena and Felton Kamambo recently quit their posts on the Zifa board with the duo literally suggesting that their colleagues in the establishment – Chiyangwa, vice-president Omega Sibanda and another board member Philemon Machana — should also follow suit.
Mabhena and Kamambo claimed in their resignation letters that they were stepping down because the term of office of the Zifa establishment expired on March 29.
As if that was enough, former Zifa presidents and officials Trevor Carelse-Juul, Eusebio Maseko, Rafiq Khan, Vincent Pamire, Leslie Gwindi, John Phiri and Fungai Chihuri also grouped to force Chiyangwa into an immediate election and as a result were recently banned “from partaking in any association football-related activities in Zimbabwe for violating the Zifa constitution”.
However, in an interview early this week, Manicaland Zifa leader Kuziwa Nyabeze urged councillors to remain resolute and accused those involved in the rebellion of “trying to fan friction and divisions at the expense of development”.
“I think this is clear that some people are being selfish and acting to satisfy personal egos. Let football be the winner and that should be the motivating factor for all of us.
“Kamambo and Mabhena did not really have constituencies to report to and therefore did not fully understand what it means to represent area zones or clubs that are making a lot of sacrifices to develop football.
“When I look at their actions, it’s not just betraying Chiyangwa, but us as congress. The same people who caused the postponement of the AGM are the same people who are now saying elections are long overdue.
“The two were serving at our mercy and why should they want to act as if we are the ones serving at their mercy. Elections will properly decide who the next leaders will be when the time comes.
“Instead of worrying about the drama they are creating, I am more worried about the teams in my province. I have a team in Checheche where Masimba Dinyero is now coaching and that needs to travel to play in Mutare and we need to look for sponsorships to motivate such clubs and also develop our junior league,’’ Nyabeze said.
Zifa regional leaders Willard Manyengavana, Musa Mandaza, provincial chairmen for Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West, Gilbert Saika and Derick Matapure, respectively, were the first to dismiss the resignations of Mabhena and Kamambo as a non-event that would be of no force or effect to the administration of the game.
The condemnation on the actions by Mabhena and Kamambo grew louder with Midlands province chairman Brian Chishanga and Naboth Magwizi of Masvingo adding their voices to the chorus.