Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
FIFA have broken their silence on ZIFA elections, with the world football governing body giving their seal of approval to the roadmap crafted by the association’s Congress at their annual meeting in February.
In a move that also puts paid to wild speculation by social media hawks, who have been peddling a lot of falsehoods, FIFA have written to ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa endorsing the resolutions of the February 17 annual meeting.
Interestingly, for the Chiyangwa leadership, FIFA also exposed the underhand manoeuvres of the Sport and Recreation Commission to try and usurp the powers of Congress in charting the way forward for Zimbabwean football.
That FIFA have also addressed Chiyangwa as the ZIFA president in their communication also ends speculation that the Harare businessman’s term of office had ended.
ZIFA legal adviser Itai Ndudzo said the incumbent leadership would continue to administer ZIFA until the completion of the electoral process which is expected to start from the lower rungs.
Article 2(6) of the ZIFA Electoral Code reads:
“Unless this code states otherwise, the elected internal bodies of ZIFA shall continue to exercise their functions until the completion of the electoral process’’.
Ndudzo last night revealed that FIFA had since granted their approval to the request they had made to the Zurich body on the roadmap which the Congress resolved to adopt.
This led to the ZIFA Electoral Committee holding an induction meeting on Monday, following receipt of the FIFA seal of approval, ahead of their sitting in Harare next Friday.
“There have been a number of letters written to FIFA in the past few weeks. One of them by the director-general of the Sports Commission and it was written without being copied to ZIFA.
“There was also a letter from Cuthbert Dube and a letter from Vincent Pamire who wanted to push FIFA into agreeing to set up a normalisation committee claiming that there was a leadership vacuum at ZIFA.
“FIFA sent all the letters back to the ZIFA president and asked to be furnished with a response which was immediately sent back.
“ZIFA were scathing in our response as we told FIFA of the underhand moves that have been going on and were also clear on the status of Pamire and his group.
“FIFA then said they have approved the amendments to the constitution and for the electoral committee to start its work.
“Following that FIFA letter, the electoral committee met on 30 April for orientation and they invited me to their meeting’’.
Ndudzo said it was also imperative for the football family to understand that the electoral committee was the sole authority mandated to oversee the ZIFA elections and all the processes involved.
“There has been a lot of communication between FIFA and the ZIFA president on the issue and we were just waiting for the right moment to release the material,’’ said Ndudzo.
“There is no question at FIFA about the legitimacy of the football leadership in Zimbabwe and that is why they have been that avenue of communication.
“The crucial development was FIFA’s consent that the ZIFA Electoral Committee was duly empowered to conduct the elections and come up with a roadmap and that is why the committee started its orientation this week and why another meeting is set for next Friday.
“The process is moving on smoothly and we know that there will be the usual noises from the usual quarters, but such noises, which borders on desperation, has no substance at all because, within the structures of football, which are recognised by FIFA, things are moving well.’’
Ndudzo said it was also ironic that those who had failed to push the current ZIFA leaders from office were now singing a different tune claiming the leadership were violating FIFA statutes by plunging in politics.
“They have short memories because they seem to have forgotten that SAFA president Danny Jordaan is a leading member of the African National Congress and was, at one time, even became mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay on the ticket of that political organisation.’’