FORMER Zifa presidents and different football stakeholders met in the capital yesterday and vowed to challenge the legitimacy of the current leadership headed by Philip Chiyangwa, who they accused of running football in the country illegally following the expiry of his term of office on March 29.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The group of former Zifa presidents who include Trevor Caresle Juul, Vincent Pamire and Rafik Khan said they had already engaged the government through the Sports ministry, Fifa and Caf “in order to save the game from sliding into an abyss”.
Two other former presidents, Leo Mugabe and Cuthbert Dube, did not attend yesterday’s meeting “due to other commitments” although Pamire revealed that they were part of the campaign.
A committee which includes the former Zifa presidents, honorary Zifa members, retired footballers, women football members and other former football stakeholders was formed with a mandate to continue the campaign to ramp up pressure on Chiyangwa to step down.
“Zimbabwean football has been plunged into probably the worst every constitutional crisis since the birth of the association in 1963. The critical group gathered in this room will help play an important room will help play an important part to rescue our beautiful game from the apparent clutches of unconstitutionalism, mismanagement, pillaging of association resources, abuse of players and coaches,, patronage and stagnation,” Caresle-Juul said in statement on behalf of the former Zifa presidents.
“We are all gathered here to make a statement, for posterity, in respect of how our own game should be managed and adhere to the Zifa constitution,”
Caresle-Juul, who contested the last Zifa election in December 2015, said they were not embarking on a hostile takeover of the troubled local football governing body, but merely restoring normalcy to Zimbabwean football.
“We are not all out to stage a coup of some sort or unlawful takeover of Zifa, but rather are here as the elders of Zimbabwe football consisting of honourary former presidents as articulated in clause 18 of the constitution.
“Due to the failings of the previous administration who are now out of office in accordance with clause 32:10 (of the constitution) and who are responsible and cause for the leadership vacuum all Zifa levels of football administration namely area zones, futsal, beach soccer, women football, provinces, regions, Premier Soccer League (PSL) and the national Zifa executive board.”
“Any football leadership that does not respect or enforce the Zifa constitution and cannot even convene simple meetings is no better than a liability to the institution of Zifa. The Zifa executive committee appears to have been busy with other business during their two-year term of office which ended on March 29, 2018, rendering the entire Zimbabwe football leadership machinery constitutionally redundant, illegal and unconstitutional,” he said.
Yesterday’s show of defiance by former Zifa presidents should come as a major blow to Chiyangwa’s bid to cling on to power.
The Zifa and Cosafa boss is still reeling from the resignation of two former executive members Felton Kamambo and Piraishe Mabhena on March 29 and the subsequent failure to co-opt two more members to the board.
The resignations by the pair left Zifa with only three executive members in Chiyangwa, his vice Omega Sibanda and board member (finance), Philemon Machana, short of the required quorum to run the body.
Zifa executive committee operated with five members, following the death of Edzai Kasinauyo last year, while PSL and women football seats in the board, were vacant.
According to the Zifa constitution, when 50% of the posts in the executive committee become vacant, the general secretary, (Joseph Mamutse) automatically takes over the reins and arranges for elections within two months.