ZIFA and Cosafa president, Philip Chiyangwa might have plunged himself into hot water over his “birthday celebrations” gathering in Harare on Thursday night, which was attended by football association (FA) presidents as well as Fifa boss Gianni Infantino, as Confederation of African Football president, Issa Hayatou has chosen to pursue the matter at the continental body’s summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 16.By KEVIN MAPASURE
Chiyangwa and Hayatou have had a tiff over the gathering, with the later accusing the former of convening an unsanctioned meeting, which Caf viewed suspiciously with elections for the next leadership set for next month.
Hayatou is facing his biggest challenge to retain the post, where he will contest with Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar, whom Chiyangwa has been canvassing support for.
A day before the birthday bash, Caf, through secretary-general, Hicham El Amrani, wrote to Chiyangwa informing him that the issue had been placed on agenda at the Caf executive committee meeting in Ethiopia.
Caf this week released the agenda and programme of the Ethiopia meeting and suspension or expulsion of a member is item number 10 on the list.
Amrani questioned Chiyangwa’s claim that Thursday’s gathering was an informal meeting, which he organised in his personal capacity.
The Caf boss is not convinced by that since Chiyangwa in his invitation letter to Mali FA president used the Cosafa letterhead.
“You clearly state you have convened an informal meeting in your personal capacity as Dr Philip Chiyangwa in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Friday February 24, 2017, such a meeting representing only a celebration of your victory at Cosafa, as well as a belated celebration of your birthday,” reads part of the letter. “However, I must advise that we are somewhat surprised at the contents thereof, in that you appear to go to great lengths to advise or attempt to educate me on the provisions of both Caf statutes and Fifa regulations. For your information, I am well versed with both documents and always strictly adhere to the provisions of the same. The purpose of our letter to you would appear to have been totally misunderstood by you and this could have arisen as a result of a wrong perception, which you seem to create in your own letters, namely your letter addressed to the president of the Football Association of Zambia, Andrew Kamanga, on your personal letterhead inviting him to celebrate your election as Cosafa president, as well as your birthday, whereas your letter on the same date addressed to the president of the Mali Football Association uses the Cosafa letterhead and merely refers to your election and makes no reference to your birthday.”
Amrani also argues that Infantino, in informing Caf about his visit to Zimbabwe, suggests that the Fifa boss was coming on a formal visit.
“At the same time, we were formally informed by Fifa that the visit of the Fifa president to Zimbabwe is aimed at visiting your federation and discuss football development with other stakeholders and present the Fifa development programmes, Zimbabwe being the first stop on an African tour. As far as your personal celebrations are concerned, you may invite whomsoever you wish, but in view of the different letterheads used and the established work visit of the Fifa president, it does seem indeed it is an informal meeting. For your information, this matter will be tabled on the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the Caf executive committee.”
The Caf boss was clearly riled by Chiyangwa’s last letter to Caf over the same matter, where he demanded an apology from the continental body over accusations of convening an unsanctioned meeting.
“Finally, we have noted, with much surprise, your ambitious wish to have Caf present to you apologies. It would be preferable to think thoroughly about the same prior to writing to Caf.”
Chiyangwa argued in his earlier correspondence that he convened an informal gathering and had not violated any Caf statutes.
At the gathering on Thursday, Nigerian FA president Amaju Pinnick, reiterated that it was time for Hayatou to leave Caf.
Pinnick claimed, as he introduced Ahmad, that the candidate had already secured support from 35 of the 54 members, who will vote on the day.
Also at the celebrations was Ghana FA boss, Kwesi Nyantakyi, Liberia’s Musa Bility and South African FA president, Danny Jordan, among others.