HARARE - Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa insists his birthday celebrations will go ahead in Harare next week despite massive resistance from the Confederation of African Football (Caf) president Issa Hayatou.
Chiyangwa, who is also the Cosafa president, has invited a number of association heads from the region and the continent, together with Fifa president Giani Infantino, to be part of the celebrations on February 24.
However, Hayatou is already seeing shadows after Cosafa threw their weight behind Madagascar Football Association president Ahmad Ahmad at next month’s Caf elections.
Hayatou, who has been the continental football boss since 1988 and is seeking an eighth term, accused Chiyangwa of trying to “destabilise” the continental body by convening such a meeting without Caf’s blessing.
Caf general-secretary Hicham Al Amrani last week wrote to Chiyangwa on behalf of Cameroonian and warned the Zifa boss of unspecified sanctions if the celebrations go ahead.
Chiyangwa on Tuesday responded to Al Amrani vehemently denying Hayatou’s allegations and at the same time maintained his stance regarding next week’s gathering.
“I was taken aback, to say the least, by the tone of your letter and the clear insulation that such an informal gathering of my family and friends be they presidents of member associations on the African continent would be considered, outrightly, as an attempt to destabilise Caf,” Chiyangwa said.
“The informal gathering styled as ‘...Chiyangwa Birthday and Cosafa Presidency Victory celebration’ in Harare scheduled for the 24th of February 2017 is merely my belated birthday celebration as I was born on February 3 and I also intend, on the same occasion, to celebrate my ascendency to the Cosafa presidency.
“This, in my view, does not violate any football statutes. It is personal matter: as for my birthday, my family and I do this yearly without fail.
“The largest composition of the audience is my kith and kin, Zimbabwean society who are largely my focus, as will be witnesses on the day.”
Chiyangwa also categorically states that he is aware of the proper procedure of convening a formal meeting and will never violate the game’s statutes.
“If I were to convene a formal meeting, I am well aware that such meetings for Cosafa, Caf and Fifa are prescribed meetings which must have an agenda, necessary notifications requirements and quorum formalities where resolutions can be validly passed,” he said.
“Your letter does not in any way make references to a meeting notification nor does it refer to any circulated agenda, which are essential requirements for convening a formal meeting.
“Consequently, I accept that I have no power to convene a meeting in terms of both Caf and Fifa statutes neither do I intend to do so.
“The event scheduled for February 24, by any stretch of constructions, cannot be termed or considered a meeting.
“At all material times, I have considered myself bound by football statues, from the Zifa statutes right up to the universally acclaimed Fifa Statutes.
“My conduct and actions are strictly informed and influenced by provisions of all football statutes and at no point in time have I disregarded or attempted to disregard the authority of properly elected/appointed football bodies.”
Chiyangwa has also demanded an apology from Caf for branding him a power hungry individual after making their allegations public.
“In circumstances, considering the clear misapprehension of my noble intentions by Caf, an apology is warranted for the inconvenience caused by the allegations arising from your letter,” he said.
“...the gathering does not seek to undermine or destabilise Caf, rather it is meant to foster friendly relations between brotherly associations for the overall development of football on our continent.”