PHILIP Chiyangwa was left a dejected man after a surprise 35-24 defeat to challenger Felton Kamambo, the man he tried so hard to prevent from contesting in the Zifa elections which were held in Harare yesterday.
BY HENRY MHARA
But for the intervention of world football governing body Fifa, who ruled that Kamambo should be allowed to stand, Chiyangwa would have retained the post he took over in 2015.
Perhaps, he knew what would happen if he gets a credible challenge. The same councillors who catapulted him to the top, deserted him in an election that was observed by officials from Caf and Fifa.
Yesterday, the often bubbly Chiyangwa looked unusually crestfallen even before the votes had been cast, as if he knew what was in store for him.
In the end, he polled just 24 votes out of 59, with Kamambo getting 35 and with it a four-year term as the association president.
The Zifa constitution, however, requires the winner to garner a two-thirds majority to be declared winner.
But Chiyangwa, sensing a drubbing in the second round of voting and further embarrassment, withdrew his candidature.
Immediately after announcing his decision, and with the gallery still in shock and some giggling in the background, he hugged his opponent and slipped out of the room, with his band on tow.
“I’m very well, that is what happens. It is democracy. I’m not disappointed, not at all. From here, I can go and become the president of the fishing club; there are so many sports out there,” Chiyangwa told reporters from his car in the car park.
Asked if he would return to football following the drubbing, he responded: “No, I do so many things and I perform. You know my performance, so let them (the new executive) perform also. Good luck to them, and I will give them the support. Remember, I’m still Cosafa president. I’m still the boss for the region, don’t forget that.”
Chiyangwa claimed he had lost all the desire to lead Zifa. But just over a month ago, he was all over social media platforms celebrating when it seemed that he would retain his post uncontested. The wild celebrations, as it proved, where premature.
“Was I campaigning? I haven’t been into it in the manner I was in the first place. I’m wishing them luck. I have done the best I can. We can’t force things. Things happen in a different way. Some people might find this as a new opening, there might be advantages to it. As Zimbabweans, why should we stifle development? If it is out of Chiyangwa’s control, the things can work better; why not?
“It’s necessary to give people who are desperately wanting to do something a chance to do it. If someone asks for $200, and say he can make a million out of it, give it to him and see what they can do with that money. Maybe they will really be millionaires and actually assist you, so let us give them a chance,” Chiyangwa said.
The Kamambo and Chiyangwa battle was the major highlight of the day’s elective congress, which ushered in a new executive.
Chiyangwa’s right handman Philemon Machana retained his post in the executive, while Chamu Chiwanza, his business associate, was also voted in.
There is also a new vice-president at the association after Gift Banda trounced incumbent Omega Sibanda for the post.
Sugar Chagonda and Brighton Malandule, who were elected as members complete the executive board.
They are joined in the board by Premier Soccer League boss Farai Jere and women football boss Barbra Chikosi, as per the Zifa constitution.