Latest News Editor's Choice

Sports / Soccer

Chiyangwa in final campaign trail

by Staff reporter
03 Dec 2015 at 10:08hrs | Views
IN the week that ZIFA councillors will meet to decide on who will make up the association's next leadership, the campaign trail by prospective candidates intensified and presidential aspirant Philip Chiyangwa engaged on yet another whirlwind tour of the country yesterday to ratchet up support for his bid.

Chiyangwa was the first man to stake a claim on the race to succeed Cuthbert Dube as the next ZIFA president and the flamboyant property mogul has not taken the foot off the pedal in trying to woo the soccer body's electoral college to give him the mandate to lead the association.

And with just two days to go before the councillors converge at the ZIFA Village to cast their votes, Chiyangwa, not taking anything to chance despite having launched his manifesto at a glittering event in the capital, flew to the Southern, Eastern and Central regions to seek the crucial reassurance of the electorate of their support.

Chiyangwa hired a private plane that flew him to Bulawayo to meet the Southern Region councillors, Gweru for an indaba with those in the Central region and Mutare, which was the meeting point for the Eastern region before returning to Harare in the evening. His rivals, James Takavada, Trevor Carelse-Juul and Leslie Gwindi have also stepped up their bids, taking their campaigns around the country.

Juul and Takavada addressed the media on separate occasions in Harare on Monday, while Gwindi was in Bulawayo last week. And yesterday, Chiyangwa was back on the road, albeit with a touch of style, that is true to his flamboyant nature as he flew around the country on yet another whirlwind tour.

The Harare businessman once again hit back at those casting aspersions about his suitability to lead the country's biggest sport and even drew comparisons with acting FIFA president and Confederation of African Football boss Issa Hayatou who rose from being an athlete to become the most powerful man in the continental game.

Chiyangwa suggested that it would be naïve to focus on whether someone should have played the game at the highest level in order to lead football. Just like he outlined in his manifesto, Chiyangwa reiterated in his meetings with the councillors of the three regions that he was determined to "rebuild, restore and reposition Zimbabwean football''.

"We have been a laughing stock for a long time and I intend to put an end to all the embarrassment we have endured as a nation,'' Chiyangwa told the councillors. "Just like the majority of Zimbabweans, I love my football and I am passionate about it and I will do everything in my power to bring back the glory days.

"In bringing back those glory days, I am fully aware that we need to create our history of participating at the Qatar 2022 World Cup and the qualifying for the 2017 African Cup of Nations''.

Chiyangwa, who is under no illusion of the tough task the next ZIFA boss will face, also maintained that he would anchor his tenure if elected, on teamwork. "I intend to lead a team f men and women who will sacrifice their lives to restore our pride as a nation.

"Football does not belong to a selected clique to run it . . . if it did, Issa Hayatou would not be acting president of the most powerful organisation in the world today, FIFA. After all he chose basketball and long distance running after being a PE teacher. "Football belongs to all of us and I will use my contacts in Government and the corporate world to unlock support for ZIFA,'' Chiyangwa said.

Chiyangwa said his bid to have teamwork at ZIFA was meant to ensure that the councillors are not left to be bystanders in the administration of the game as they would form the various sub-committees that are necessary in the effective running of the game. "Never again will football be run by one person, never again will ZIFA be monopolised by a favoured clique, never again will the ZIFA financials be a secret.

"I plan to give back the running of football to competent standing committees run by the councillors. "Football is a team sport so therefore we can only succeed in turning around ZIFA together, united''.

Chiyangwa also scoffed at those from the rival camps who have wanted to just bank on the past as a measure for who should be considered for the ZIFA presidency arguing that he represents the future and the business direction that football has become over the years. "I am confident that on Saturday I will triumph over those using 18th Century lenses to try and view 20th Century football. Malevels angu akasiyana nevakawanda.

"Football has become a billion-dollar industry and why can't I be part of that billion-dollar industry. "It just needs the right man and the right team at ZIFA to unlock that huge potential, that value that is in our game,'' Chiyangwa said. Chiyangwa has already unveiled a glossy 18-page manifesto in which the Harare businessman outlined his football gospel and the vision that he has for ZIFA. In that manifesto he reiterated that:

"ZIFA needs to rebuild and restore corporate governance so that is can reposition itself as a credible institution. Transparency will be the hallmark of my leadership. I intend to run an FA that is transparent, an FA whose doors are open to everyone and anyone who wants to walk in and engage with an interactive, courteous and helpful secretariat that seeks to serve.

"We will be open to criticism and we will work to improve ourselves, we will restore transparency and abolish the culture of secrecy and privatisation of ZIFA because the association belongs to the people," said Chiyangwa.

Chiyangwa believes the fact that he was not part of the problems that haunted ZIFA stands him in good stead to approach the hugely polarised association and the poisoned environment in the domestic game with a sober mind.

Source - the herald