ZIFA presidential aspirant Phillip Chiyangwa’s bid to claim the association’s top post received a boost after the Zimbabwe Women Soccer League yesterday guaranteed him their votes in the December election.
BY HENRY MHARA
Chiyangwa, together with soccer legend James Takavada are the only two who have so far publicly stated their desire to enter the race to replace deposed Cuthbert Dube although it is believed that at least eight people, including former Harare City Football Club chairman Leslie Gwindi, former Dynamos chairman Lincoln Mutasa and veteran football administrator Chris Sambo, picked the nomination papers from the Zifa offices.
It is Chiyangwa though who has been the most visible, and is travelling the country soliciting for support from Zifa councillors.
Yesterday, he might have got the head-start he wanted when Women Football board member competitions Cecilia Gambe assured him during an event organised by the Sports and Recreation Commission, where the flamboyant businessman donated $10 000 to the victorious Mighty Warriors, that he has their backing.
Zimbabwe Women Football League possesses four votes from the 58 delegates that will converge on December 5 to elect the Zifa president, the deputy and three other board members.
There are two seats reserved for Women Football and the Premier Soccer League in the Zifa executive committee.
“We as Zimbabwe Women Football we are going to vote for you, we endorse your candidature so count four votes from Women’s Football. Thank you very much Dr Chiyangwa,” said Gambe.
Chiyangwa, who has also previously donated $20 000 to the Warriors for their successful qualification for the Chan Games, is the runaway favourite at the moment.
“Why would I lose? I’m campaigning, I’m the guy who is on the ground. Who else has hit the ground the way I have done? People should not expect the mantle to be handed to them while they are sleeping in their bedrooms,” said Chiyangwa during a Press conference after the donation.
“I’m not sleeping in my bedroom, I’m in the bush campaigning. I’m the best person to take over the seat,” he added before promising that he had a lot more in the offing for the national teams.
“There is more that would be coming, big time. There is a lot I’m working on particularly for the Warriors, and the Mighty Warriors which I will announce shortly before the elections. And immediately after my victory we will have a serious programme in place for these teams,” added Chiyangwa.
On his donation to the Mighty Warriors, Chiyangwa said: “It was through the pressure that came from the Minister of Sports (Makhosini Hlongwane) after I had sponsored the Warriors that he said please can you try as much as possible to do something for the Mighty Warriors. I basically want to say that the gesture is to try and give confidence, a morale booster to the girls who did us proud because we are now going to play at the world stage.”
In accepting the donation, SRC director-general Charles Nhemachena said: “The gesture is most welcome. I’m particularly elated by the minister and you (Chiyangwa) of course in trying to make sure that what we do for the boys we also do it for the girls. They are equally our children because half the time we have a situation where we have discouraged the girls because of this unequal treatment and yet it is the girl child who has continued to put us on the world map in terms of sport.”