Kamambo dethrones Philip Chiyangwa

HARARE – Local football was ushered into a new era yesterday after Felton Kamambo was elected Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) president after beating the incumbent Philip Chiyangwa. 

It was a tightly-contested race though as Kamambo posted 35 against Chiyangwa’s 24 votes.

According to the Zifa statutes, a candidate needed at least two thirds of the ballot in order to win the presidential election or else a re-run was going to take place.

With 59 votes cast, Kamambo needed at least 39 votes for an outright victory but with all signs pointing to a humiliating loss, Chiyangwa pulled out of the second round.

As for the vice president post, Gift Banda received an overwhelming seal of approval from the Zifa electorate thumping Omega Sibanda 37-22.

The four board members, who were elected, are Sugar Chagonda 41 votes, Philemon Machana 41 votes, Chamu Chiwanza 38 votes and Brighton Malandule 35 votes.

It was an emotional victory, though, for Kamambo considering what he went through just to participate in this election.

Kamambo had very little time to campaign after he was denied the nomination papers by the Zifa secretariat before he eventually sought the intervention of the Electoral Committee.

After filing his papers, Kamambo was disqualified on frivolous grounds.

He was also accused of sexual harassment against a member of the Mighty Warriors squad during his time as Zifa board member.

In another twist, he was also barred on the grounds that he had failed to pass an integrity test conducted by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.

His appeal was also thrown out by the Zifa Appeals Committee but he remained steadfast and approached Fifa.

After the intervention of Fifa director of development for Africa and the Caribbean, Veron Mosengo-Omba, Kamambo was finally reinstated on November 27, leaving him with little time to campaign for the election.

Despite all these setbacks, the Kwekwe-based football administrator prevailed during yesterday’s election.

In his acceptance speech, the former Silo United chairperson promised to let bygones-be-bygones while working to develop the game.

“I’m really humbled to have been elected the Zifa president. I would like to thank all those who voted for me,” he said.

“But it should be known that the honeymoon is over. It’s now time for us to deliver on what we have been promising in our manifestos.

“We need to do our best and transform the local game. We need to work really hard and achieve our goals in the next four years. I have no hard feelings against anyone; the focus should be on developing our football.

“What has happened has happened but it’s now water under the bridge, what’s important is the future of our football. I have confidence in the team that has been selected today that we can deliver.” 

Chiyangwa was gracious in defeat and wished the new leadership all the best going forward.

“It’s a democracy and I’m not even disappointed at all,” he said. “I think I have played my part. I’m now done with football.

“I have performed and let them perform as well. I wish them luck. I have done my best and I have no regrets whatsoever. But of course I’m still the boss for the region.”

Meanwhile, the Zifa assembly yesterday refused to adopt a resolution to change the Premier Soccer League (PSL) season calendar.

The PSL had proposed to align their calendar to that of other leagues across the globe which run between August and May.

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