ZIFA presidential aspirant James Takavada has pleaded with the electorate to give him a chance to prove his ability to revive the country’s football fortunes.
BY HENRY MHARA
The 1984 Soccer Star of the Year launched his manifesto titled Vision and Framework for the Future of Zimbabwe in the capital yesterday ahead of the Saturday elections, where a new Zifa executive committee would be ushered in.
He will compete against Trevor Carelse Juul, Phillip Chiyangwa and Leslie Gwindi for the top post.
Takavada has identified key areas that he would look into if given the mandate to lead Zimbabwe football. These include good governance and junior soccer development.
He believes time has come for ex-footballers to take a leading role in the running of Zifa.
“I want to thank the councillors for listening to me and I want to urge them to vote wisely, to vote with their brains and not with their tummies,” he said. “They should do this for our football. How would they feel if they voted for the wrong person and one year down the line things go back to where we are right now or even worse?
“As former footballers we have never been given a chance. There have been businesspeople in that past and they are the ones who have put us in this situation. We are saying, we know this thing and have specialised in football, so why shouldn’t we be given a chance? Why can’t the councillors give us just these two remaining years this term and see if we are not good enough? The councillors should take a risk and we show what we are capable of.”
Takavada said he had met with almost all the councillors who will vote and said the response was encouraging.
“They [councillors] appreciate who I am and what I bring on the table. They have shown confidence in me and really want to work with me. From my meetings with them, they are in agreement that I should be the man in charge. Some of my competitors are going to the newspapers to have their names on the newspapers everyday ,but they would be shocked on Saturday because that is the reality.”
He said his mission would be to restore sanity in football as well as inclusivity.
“We want to bring football back; we want sanity back in football. We want people to love football again and be associated with it. At the moment very few people want to be associated with Zifa and would rather help secretly because they don’t want people to know that they are dealing with the association. We want to change that. We want everything to be clear, transparent and people to be accountable and to have
people proud to be associated with Zifa. We have to rebuild the image because once that is done; everything else would fall in place. How I would enter the race to look for money when Zifa itself is not in order?
His candidature received full backing from yesteryear footballers including Stix Mtizwa, Ernest Kamba and Misheck Chidzambwa who attended the event.
“I think it’s only proper for the councillors to vote for Takavada because he has seen it all. He has been in this field since his childhood so I think he is an ideal person who has gone through all the stages of football. His chances are very bright, maybe the only challenge can come from Trevor Juul,” Mtizwa, a five-time Soccer Star of the Year runner-up, said.