FORMER Premier Soccer League (PSL) chief executive Chris Sambo has amplified calls for the shelving of the scheduled December 5 Zifa elections, imploring Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane to intervene.BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The veteran football administrator yesterday said the upcoming Zifa elections could turn out to be the most controversial in the history of Zimbabwean football.
He wants the elections to be stopped on the basis that the Electoral Committee is not properly constituted and that the 58 councillors who vote do not necessarily represent the views of the football-loving public.
He claimed there were allegations of bribery of councillors and called for the appointment of a “normalisation committee” to run the FA until the elections in 2018. His remarks come after journalist Hope Chizuzu also sought to have the elections stopped on the basis that the Electoral Committee was not properly constituted. His application at the High Court was, however, thrown out on Tuesday.
Sambo said: “The composition of the nomination court has been challenged in court by journalist Hope Chizuzu. While acknowledging that the application was dismissed as not urgent, it does contain some prima facie evidence of serious deficiencies in the appointment of the nomination court.”
He also said the challenge by Lifelong Footballers’ Trust of Zimbabwe, fronted by former Zifa northern region chairman Francis Zimunya, on Phillip Chiyangwa’s eligibility was not given due attention.
Chiyangwa has received backing from Five-A-Side football, who said he was one of the founder members and held a committee member position at some stage.
“There have been allegations of massive bribery of councillors. Zimbabwe cannot afford another disputed Zifa election,” Sambo said.
“A product born out of such controversy will not attract corporate support. Fifa official Primo Carvaro, at the meeting that ousted Cuthbert Dube, warned that Zimbabwe football could disappear altogether if the country doesn’t get their affairs in order and said whoever was going to take over had to be strong as Zimbabwe would not be getting immediate financial assistance from Fifa.”
He added that the current situation did not require a president that would fund the organisation from his pocket.
“We do not need another Dube scenario where the organisation will end up being funded by an individual. The SRC [Sports and Recreation Commission] should have insisted that the elections could not be held before the implementation of the SRC-sponsored Madangure Commission of Inquiry, which recommended the dissolution of the current Zifa Council.”
He said the situation called for the intervention of the Sports minister who should put in place a normalisation committee to run Zifa until 2018.
Hlongwane has since passed a vote of confidence on the electoral process and wants the elections to be carried through.
Sambo, however, said: “During that period, our focus would be on rebranding and putting in place junior football structures. Fifa will not regard this as government interference as we would be putting in place recommendations whose process was derived from our statutes.
“Football in Zimbabwe is the most powerful constituency with more than 10 million supporters. Its destiny cannot be decided upon by 58 councillors who are open to bribery. The Zifa Council needs to be reconstituted with a broader representation that would also include supporters either through their clubs or authentic supporters’ organisations with accountable structures.
“There should be constitutional amendment to accommodate this critical change. The election that brought Zambian football legend Kalusha Bwalya into office had more than 200 councillors voting. Perhaps, a council of that size could be our starting point.”
Leslie Gwindi, Trevor Carelse-Juul, James Takavada and Chiyangwa are all vying for the Zifa presidential post, while Lincoln Mutasa and Omega Sibanda will tussle it out for the vice-presidency slot.
Ten other candidates are all bidding to fill four other slots in the board.