Bruising battle!... as four vie for ZRU top post

Outgoing vice president Losson Mtongwiza is one of the challengers and he pledges to transform rugby into a citadel.

IT is unprecedented times in local rugby.

Four high-profile candidates line up to contest for the president's post in the Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) elections set for the National Sports Stadium tomorrow.

Incumbent, Aaron Jani has thrown his name in the hat and is looking forward to convincing the electorate that his past tenure was good enough for another shot at the helm.

Outgoing vice president Losson Mtongwiza is one of the challengers and he pledges to transform rugby into a citadel.

Former Sables star Gerald Sibanda wants to freshen up things with new ideas too.

But for former coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba, a leader is just as good as his “man-management” skills in coaching, hence he decided to fight for the bigger post.

Mtongwiza is running with a five-point plan anchored on development, governance, administration, infrastructure and high performance in his manifesto. 

"Basically (campaign) it has gone well. I have managed to speak to all the people that I feel matter in the election. I have presented a five-point programme to the electorate. And, the five-point programme is hinged on development, governance, administration, infrastructure and high performance," Mtongwiza told the Independent Sport. 

"The key thing in this document is such that at the end of my four-year tenure, I want to be known for some specifications. For example, the ZRU has never had any offices and grounds of its own in Harare since the late 1990s.

"As such I am looking forward to ensuring that we are going to secure a piece of land with a long-term lease. And, then develop this piece of land into the ground and ZRU offices and also make sure there are dining facilities.

“I also want to make sure there is a gym, with an anticipation of playing between eight and 12 games a year.

“I am going to make sure we qualify for the Nations Cup, which is your top team in Africa and the second-best team in Africa. We should qualify for this Nations Cup and that will give us home and away games in preparation for the 2027 World Cup," Mtongwiza added.

The Old Hararians Rugby Sports Club president also spoke passionately about governance. 

"On governance, there are a few things that you have noticed where we have seen a couple of complaints about our women especially. Equality is one of the key things that I want to look at,” Mtongwiza said.

“Last year we developed the gender and equity policy but that policy is just a document at the moment. No one has talked about it.

“It is something that I pushed for when I was acting president for two months last year and we developed it. I intend to update that in the constitution and make sure it is constitutional.

"There is also consolidation of financials. Financials have not been consolidated for a long time. I am talking of the pillars of rugby; Sables, Cheetahs, ladies, the U20s and schools. They need to be consolidated and then audited,” he added.

Mtongwiza further stated that: "One of the things that I am excited about is that I would like to engage a commercial equity partner and sign a commercial equity deal”.

This, he said was to secure the long-term financial sustainability of rugby in Zimbabwe.

“I want to secure affordable replica kits. It is something that is done all over the world but in Zimbabwe. We have just sat back and every year we have always had issues. My experience in the game will give me direction on how to deal with it," Mtongwiza said.

Sibanda, a former Zimbabwe international, is pushing his campaign under a six-point plan. The main thrust will be engaging stakeholders and giving them a voice.

"Our focus is to govern and grow the game in Zimbabwe, which will require all of us to ensure that our departments, be it provincial,schools, referees, national teams are managed with transparency and due diligence," Sibanda said.

"A review of the current administration process will take organogram will be provided after assessments of current structures.

“Every position and their roles or responsibilities will be documented, measured and managed accordingly while giving them the tools to perform.

"We will ensure that all stakeholders are well supported and guided, ensuring that teams, departments, and provinces are self-sufficient yet governed correctly," he added.

Sibanda also wants to see more game time for national teams, while players get better remuneration.

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