Chiyangwa wins Zifa election

 HARARE - Maverick businessman and politician — Philip Chiyangwa (pictured) — fulfilled his longtime but closely-kept desire to lead local football when he was elected the new Zifa president in a one-sided election held outside the capital yesterday.

Chiyangwa received an overwhelming seal of approval from the Zifa electorate following a landslide victory that catapulted him to the top of Zimbabwean football.

The Harare businessman saw his elaborate campaign pay off as he convincingly beat ex-Zifa chairman Trevor Carelse-Juul with a massive 27 votes.

Chiyangwa garnered a whopping 40 of the 57 votes whilst Juul won 13. Leslie Gwindi who competed in 2010 and 2014 saw his hope of making it third time lucky go up in smoke after earning only two votes.

Only one person voted for James Takavada. He avoided the media after the elections as he sneaked outside.

It was a different ball game for the jubilant Chiyangwa camp which came ready for victory with shirts emblazoned with “Chiyangwa, Zifa president.”

Even before the results were announced a number of Zifa councillors did not hide their affection. Some openly jumped on Chiyangwa whilst others swarmed him with hearty congratulatory messages.

“I was not expecting the manner in which it (victory) came that is why I had not prepared a speech,” Chiyangwa said after learning of his victory.

“But I want to thank the candidates I was competing with, you put up a good fight I didn’t get 57 votes (easily), I had to scramble for this result,” he said sarcastically.

Chiyangwa said he would work hard to change the fortunes of Zimbabwean football.

“There is a lot that needs to be done. We have a $6 million debt. There are a lot of issues that need to be tackled. I don’t want a repeat of the mistakes of the previous board,” he said.
Juul said “a number of irregularities” made the elections not free and fair.

As for the vice president post, Omega Sibanda beat Lincoln Mutasa after he won 34 votes whilst the former Dynamos chairman won 23 votes.

Edzai Kasinauyo, 29 votes, Philemon Machana, 32, Felton Kamambo, 34, and Piraishe Mabhena, 36 votes, won the four Zifa board positions.

The Zifa electorate is made up of representatives from 16 Premier Soccer League teams, Area Zones, women football, regional chairmen as well as representatives from beach soccer.

Fifa manager member associations Luca Nicola who helped preside over the elections said the new Zifa board had a long way to go.

“With positions come responsibility and today’s debt of Zifa is a serious one. We are talking about at least $6, 8 million dollars. It needs to be addressed as soon as possible,” Nicola said.

He added that Zifa was also in a race against time to settle the debt of former Warriors coach Valinhos or risk being banned from the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

“Zifa has until January 4 to pay,” he said. “All these things need to be addressed so that we wake up this sleeping giant. There is too much talent which is at stake and being weighed down by politics.”

But yesterday was a day made for Chiyangwa who agonisingly lost the 2013 Chinhoyi constituency seat despite investing heavily in his campaigns.

And the flamboyant businessman — who rose to fame through music and boxing promotion – made sure he cast away the demons that expunged his political dream in 2013.

His campaign team made sure there was no room for error and was unfazed by last ditch attempts to try and scupper his bid by Juul who raised a number of irregularities on the eve of the big election.

All eyes will be on Chiyangwa and his board who have an unenviable task of resurrecting Zimbabwean football which plunged to an all-time low during Cuthbert Dube’s ill-fated reign.

The work has just started!

Comments (1)

I would like to congratulate Dr Phil for winning the Zifa elections.The Nation expect nothing but GOOD results from all classes of football, under 17, 20 23, senior teams for both men and women

Bhora Mutambo - 8 December 2015

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