Grassroots football key: Chagonda

HARARE - Aspiring Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) board member Sugar Chagonda has noted the need to focus on grassroots football development if the local game is to improve.

Chagonda, who is also the secretary-general for newly-promoted side Manica Diamonds, will go up against five other candidates when elections for the Zifa board are held tomorrow.

Incumbent board member — finance Philemon Machana, businessman Chamu Chiwanza, former referee Brighton Malandule, Mlungisi Moyo and Central Region boss Stanley Chapeta are the other candidates in the race for place in the Zifa board.

Having watched women’s football and junior football being neglected in recent years, Chagonda wants strong development programmes in those areas.

“We need to have well-structured development programmes which is actually imperative. Resources should be allocated for our juniors. 

“There is a very huge need for youth development programmes in the country and that should be the starting point for our football,” he told the Daily News. 

Chagonda also noted that women’s football has not yet received due recognition and would love to see the empowerment of the girl child through sport and football in particular.

“The same can be said of the girl child who has been at the receiving end of societal attitudes that actually view them as inferior compared to the boy child. Women football is yet to get the recognition of mainstream football,” he said.

Chagonda said his decision to contest the Zifa board member position was inspired by his desire to make a contribution to a sport he has grown up associating with since childhood.

While he made his name as a newscaster, Chagonda used to be a formidable holding midfielder for Nyika United in the Eastern Region Division Two between 1994 and 95.

Meanwhile, Chagonda has since received the backing of football legends, who believe he stands to bring new ideas to the soiled association.

“Looking at a person like…Chagonda, personally I believe he is the kind of person we need in the Zifa board. His achievements speak for him,” former Warriors midfielder Stanford “Stix” Mtizwa told the Daily News.

“I think he is one person who has shown his administrative prowess and should be given a chance. I hope our esteemed councillors will grant him that opportunity so that our football can take positive direction.”

Former CAPS United striker Alois Bunjira said: “For me personally, I believe Chagonda will bring value to the association. His background in marketing and public relations will be crucial in moving the association forward. Zifa needs strong marketing personnel.

“His experience in marketing and public relations will help in cleaning the soiled name of the association so that it can attract sponsors. 

“He is still young with a lot of energy and is likely to bring new ideas that can take the organisation forward. Look what he has done at ZTA (Zimbabwe Tourism Authority) and now at ZCDC (Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company). My hope is that this time around people will put football interests ahead other than anything else.”

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