'Zifa risks starting tribal war'

BULAWAYO - Highlanders chief executive Ndumiso Gumede has warned Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) president Philip Chiyangwa that he “risks igniting a tribal war” due to his recent actions.

This comes as the maverick businessman moved to expel the Bosso chief from all football activities for allegedly trying to overthrow his board by writing a stinging letter to Fifa and detailing what he feels are the association’s shortcomings, including the failed bid to rebrand Zifa to the National Football Association of Zimbabwe.

In the same fiasco, Highlanders chairperson Peter Dube was also placed on suspension for allegedly failing to control Premier Soccer League clubs at last month’s Zifa annual general meeting when the promotion play-offs issue was being discussed.

Dube and Gumede’s sanctions come at a time when the Bulawayo giants are fighting to win the league title after a 10-year wait.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, the ex-Zifa CE said: “What troubles me a little bit just because I’m an old man is that it takes a little spark to create a very big problem. There are reactions that can come out of these decisions.

“When people perceive that you have an ulterior motive of disabling the leadership of their organisation, what they do thereafter you may find that you can’t control,” Gumede said.

“We are hereby perceived as descendants of dissidents hence the Highlanders song ‘Babethi kayibulawe, Kayisoze ibulawawe’ (they wanted to destroy it but they won’t achieve their goal),” he said.

Gumede said he is yet to receive official communication from Zifa regarding the expulsion.

“We have not received any official communication from Zifa regarding our suspension. In my view, that communication should actually come through my employers Highlanders,” he said.

“I was not seconded here at Highlanders by Zifa such that Zifa can recall me. I’m a Highlanders employee.

“My principals have not received any official communication to effect a suspension anywhere.

“This thing of putting things on social media even before we see the letter is not the way to work. I’m sure that the governance procedures at Zifa would not agree with that type of action; typical kangaroo fashion of doing things. Kangaroo decisions and it’s not right.”

Gumede, who bragged of being in football for the past 40 years believes, there is nothing to fear and the letter he wrote to Fifa played a very good role in bringing back sanity to local football.

“I’m not under any panic. Actually, I’m one and a half months away from retirement. I was on my way out anywhere. It would be Highlanders loss, in my view, if I had to completely relinquish my attachment to the club,” he said.

“During my tenure as Highlanders chairman we bought the Highlanders offices, bought a residential house for players in Luveve and also managed to secure a lease for the club."

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