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#Zifa presidency: Takavada sells himself

The selection of the next Zifa president is now in the hands of the councillors. They are the driving force behind Zifa. I met many councillors to hear their views on the game and the future of Zifa.


The selection of the next Zifa president is now in the hands of the councillors. They are the driving force behind Zifa. I met many councillors to hear their views on the game and the future of Zifa.

We need to be a team if we are going to create a Zifa worthy of football. I also heard from players, fans, sponsors and others who love football because they also deserve a say in how Zifa operates.

The game belongs to them as well. I want to turn the pyramid upside down, so that all football stakeholders are on the top, and the Zifa president is there to serve and protect them and the game.

If I am elected, I will fully accept the responsibilities that come with the office. I will not attempt to shift blame or dodge my responsibility.


My manifesto is guided by the goals and principles outlined below:

Restoring Zifa’s credibility

A series of controversies in recent years have undermined Zifa’s credibility. There is need to rebuild public confidence in Zifa and show fans that we have football’s best interests at heart.

This means a fresh start for Zifa. Zifa exists to promote and develop the game of football around Zimbabwe, and it must get back to focusing on that goal. We need to restore faith and trust in Zifa and evolve the organisation so that it is fit for that purpose again. Several actions to improve Zifa can help restore faith and confidence in the organisation:

Inclusion approach in decision-making

• A more collegiate and open approach to governance with a consultative decision-making process

•More decision-making power to the regional chairmen. Zifa members know best how to manage their affairs and they should be empowered to do so.

•More meaningful and effective national dialogue and co-operation with councilors to accelerate the development of football based on local needs and local conditions, in addition to engaging with the regional chairmen as the most effective vehicle to deliver grassroots football development programs

• Greater engagement with Zifa’s stakeholders, with regular consultation and stakeholder feedback, to ensure better decision-making and best practices

• Respect the opinions and ideas of all who serve football

• Conduct a thorough and objective review of Zifa’s programmes and procedures to learn from past mistakes and implement changes to make them more effective

Make Zifa a model of good ethics

• Rebuild Zifa into an organisation that is instilled with ethical working principles and that conducts its business in a fair and dignified manner, always respecting the diverse cultures of the global football community

• Embed a set of compelling values into Zifa and ensure the organisation adheres to these values so football and Zifa can serve as positive role models for young people and sports fans across zimbabwe

• Operate consistently in a way that ensures Zifa enjoys a positive perception that benefits regional leagues, players, clubs and that increases Zifa’s appeal with sponsors and broadcasters

•Acknowledge and reward the work of many good people who were in Zifa before

Increase transparency and accountability

•Make Zifa more transparent and open in the way it conducts business, ensuring honest dialogue with all stakeholders and more accountability to the national associations

• Improved and more frequent internal and external communications, making executive decision-making a genuine team effort with proper input from Football’s stakeholders

• Establish a truly independent system to review Zifa’s practices and operations – welcoming external views and feedback on our decisions

•Embrace constructive criticism and actively engage with key national organisations and stakeholders to hear their views on how Zifa can improve

•Improve Zifa’s relations with international and local media and foster a culture of open discussion that allows greater and more meaningful engagement. A healthier relationship with media will help us communicate more effectively with stakeholders

•Introduce a Zifa magazine that narrates everything that goes on at Zifa and regions for the purpose of progress.

Improve Zifa governance:

• Clearly define and respect the proper roles and responsibilities of the president, the board, councillors and the administration so that the extent and limit of authority is clear at all levels. Doing so will help guard against abuse of power at any level within Zifa

•Encourage greater representation of current regional chairmen, councillors and other key stakeholders — including players, referees, coaches, and team management — in Zifa deliberations and decision-making

•Make Zifa more representative of the Zimbabwe’s football community, welcoming the views and offering a greater share of voice in relevant areas of policy to leagues, clubs, players, coaches, referees and fans

• Guarantee that the Zifa Ethics Committee is a fully independent and transparent body

Ensure that Zifa’s development funds are spent on projects that benefit Regions as well as their grassroots, for both women and men

•Provide more transparency and accountability on Zifa’s income and expenses, including proper external tender processes that can be fully scrutinised

•Establish productive relationships with government, international organisations and other partners. A Zifa worthy of the world’s game puts the interests of football above all else.

Protect the integrity of the game

• Strengthen the fight against all forms of racism, discrimination and violence in football by strictly and consistently enforcing the rules and punishments that are in place, and exploring new ways to combat this threat in areas where the present system is not working – this includes harnessing the power of star players and international media to promote an anti-discrimination message “A fresh start for Zifa that involves reform in an evolutionary manner”

• Ensure that football remains vigilant against the perils of doping – promoting a strong anti-doping campaign to players via their Leagues; offering guidance and education programmes to young players; dispensing severe punishments to those found guilty of violating rules and improving Football’s working relationship with relevant authorities

•Establish a dedicated task force to monitor and tackle the threat of match-fixing and manipulation, in partnership with judicial authorities, with a review of how guilty offenders are punished

• Protect the rights of players by addressing issues related to the player transfer system, unethical agents and other threats to player health, safety and well-being


• Establish a committee to concentrate on the overall state of the game and its evolution around the country

• Improve Zifa’s co-operation with Fifa and Caf to optimise the international match calendar for World Cup qualifiers and friendly matches

• Create a central code that guarantees the building of safe football stadia and other facilities

Ensure Zifa’s funds are directly injected into local football

• Create a cohesive programme for development that takes advantage of the enormous financial potential of Zifa to positively impact country’s football. For too long Zifa has governed our football without a robust strategy or a clear vision for the growth of the game. With all the finances and regulatory power at its disposal, it is failing to strategically lead the sport locally

•Formulate a long-term plan for growth to ensure the development of local football around the country becomes a priority – with significantly increased funds delivered in a transparent and accountable fashion to regions who can deliver on-the-ground projects

•Provide Zifa scholarships for former players and coaches so they can share their expertise in development efforts around the world.

My pledge

Football has given me so much in my life and I now want to give something back to the game that has shaped me so deeply. Throughout my career, I have worked at all levels of the game. This has given me a unique insight and understanding that I feel can enhance the discussion about the future of Zifa and the future of football.

I grew up in a mining environment playing on the streets and my life changed forever through the power of football. Because of my upbringing and the time during and after my playing career, I cherish the fact that I am my own man. I don’t owe anything to anybody.

Therefore, I can serve as Zifa president exclusively in the interest of football and its future.

I was fortunate to have the chance to play and get training from a very young age.

This opportunity does not exist for most children in the country and addressing this crucial issue would be a key focus for me if elected Zifa president.

My manifesto, which has been developed after talking with and seeking the views of many in the football family, has a clear vision and detailed policy ideas. One of the consistent themes fed back to me as I prepared this manifesto was that Zifa does not distributes revenues to regions – especially for developing football across the country.

That is why one of my core recommendations is that 50% of Zifa’s revenues should be distributed directly to the regions over 4 years to help fund grassroots football. If done in the right way, with a clearly defined strategy that is centrally audited and monitored, this investment will radically enhance football opportunities for boys and girls and directly benefit all of Zifa’s members.

In the recent past, I have seen the image of Zifa deteriorating and as I speak to many people in football – players, managers, coaches, sponsors and councillors – have told me that something has to be done.

In this manifesto I have outlined, clearly, how I would help to restore Zifa’s credibility and rebuild trust in it.

This will not be a simple and quick fix. It requires fundamental changes. There is far too much at stake to sit on the sidelines and refuse to act, that is not the man I am.

I urge you all to join me in ensuring a new style of leadership at Zifa, one that places football at the heart of everything. Football runs through my veins. I am a man of football, inside and out and I am ready to help bring about real change and usher in a far more positive era for Zifa and its affiliates.

James Simbarashe Takavada

Candidate for Zifa president