Chiyangwa tops Zifa Race

IT appears that Harare businessman Philip Chiyangwa has triumphed in the race to replace Cuthbert Dube as the Zifa president and the elections, set for December 5 this year, might just be a mere formality. 

With candidates needing more than half the votes of the councillors, in the event of the race failing to produce a candidate who polls more than two thirds of the 58 votes to win the Zifa presidency, it appears Chiyangwa is on course.

This virtually means that a candidate who has the support of about half the councillors is virtually assured of winning the race to become the next leader of domestic football until elections are held in 2018. The Zifa board to be elected next month will only serve for 27 months as they are only completing the term of the last board that was led by Dube and whose mandate was revoked by the Zifa councillors recently.

That withdrawal of the mandate sparked the election process that will culminate in the councillors voting for a new leadership on December 5. Chiyangwa has been making all the early running since declaring his candidature last week, and his battle has gone full throttle with indications on the ground showing that the December 5 gathering is likely to turn into merely a coronation exercise.
Chiyangwa tops Zifa Race
His papers, which will be filed today, have been supported by the four regional chairpersons — Musa Mandaza (Southern Region), Willard Manyengavana (Northern Region), Felton Kamambo (Central Region) and Eastern Region (Piraishe Mabhena). The four regions met in Zvishavane at the weekend and endorsed Chiyangwa as their candidate for the Zifa presidency.

Crucially, they also agreed that they vote en-bloc for whoever they endorse and that means 16 votes have virtually been secured by the Harare businessman. Given that Chiyangwa has also received the backing of the provinces, it means that he can add another 10 votes to that tally, bringing the number to 26. And, then, there is the endorsement that he received from Women Football, who have four votes, and that takes the projected tally to 30, more than half the councillors.

With the Premiership, who provide 16 votes, not voting en-bloc, there is a possibility that he could also pick votes from there and then, crucially, there are the Area Zones, Five-Aside Soccer League and Beach Football, who usually follow the lead of their regional and provincial leaders, this could be a blowout victory for Chiyangwa.

The regional leaders decided to vote for their choices and they overwhelmingly backed Chiyangwa who picked 14 out of 14 votes. The regional leaders agreed that since they played a very big role in having Dube ousted, it was their wish to their chairpersons sitting on the Zifa board. However, Manyengavana said he would prefer to keep his post as the Northern Region boss and the regional leaders then decided that they will campaign to have him replaced by Joseph Musariri, the leader of Beach Football, one of their strongest allies in the battle to remove Dube.

Meanwhile, Paddington Japajapa has picked up nomination papers to contest for a post on the Zifa board. The former Caps United public relations officer said he believes he will help bring back the glory days to Zimbabwe football.

“I’ve filed my papers at Zifa for the position of board member. I’ve a bigger vision for Zimbabwean soccer. I feel that I’m the best candidate for board member development post,” said Japajapa.“If voted into office, I’ll introduce soccer development from primary school level.

“This programme doesn’t need money from Zifa but is done through National Association of Primary School Heads and National Association of Secondary School Heads. I’ll introduce a soccer coach at each and every primary school in the country. “These coaches would be paid by the sports levy that’s paid by the parents so there’s no need for Zifa funds here.”

It is believed that former Zimbabwe international, Edzai Kasinauyo, is also considering battling for a post on the Zifa board.Another former Zimbabwe international, Ian Gorowa, could also make a run for one of the posts and an announcement on his candidature is expected this week.

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