Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
FAVOURITE Marshal Jonga swept to victory in the Beach Soccer election in the capital yesterday with the Harare business executive immediately pledging to put shoulders to the wheel to get the game moving.
Jonga garnered eight votes in a crushing win over outgoing chairman, Joseph Musariri, who only got one vote.
Two delegates abstained and one could not vote as he did not produce positive identification.
Moments after being declared the winner, Jonga said he would not waste time before getting down to work as the Beach Soccer leader.
He said the game was in the doldrums in the country and needed everyone to play a part in its revival.
Musariri, who has been at the helm of the ZIFA affiliate for the past seven years, did not show up at the election venue.
Ironically, he had unsuccessfully attempted to suspend Jonga from the poll early this week, but the move was set aside by ZIFA.
The association clarified that the build-up to the polls was being administered by the Electoral Committee which had already verified the eligibility of the candidates.
Affiliates, said the Association, could not disqualify candidates as that was the job of the Electoral Committee.
Jonga said yesterday’s election had brought an end to the period of campaigning and that “it is now time to put shoulders to the wheel and work.”
He thanked those who voted for him and pledged to work with those who didn’t vote for him.
“I would want to thank all the members of Beach Soccer for the confidence they have placed in me and I must emphasise from the onset that this is not about Jonga, it is about Zimbabwe getting its Beach Soccer off the ground,” Jonga said.
ZIFA Electoral Committee chairman Vusilizwe Vuma led the crew that oversaw the election.
Jonga said his first port of call would be to set up a fully-fledged working committee for the game.
“It is so disheartening to realise that the game has just been existing in name only for the past seven or so years.
“Sport is my passion and my heart bleeds if something like that happens.
“And it is one of the reasons why I decided to contest for the chairmanship of the Zimbabwe Beach Soccer.
“My first port of call will be to have a fully-constituted committee to help in the day-to-day running of the game.
“People had just lost interest in the sport since there was nothing tangible on the ground.
“But, the good thing about Beach Soccer, is that it is not an expensive sport.”
Jonga said his job would be made easier by the fact that the country was endowed with natural resources such as sand, which is key in setting up Beach Soccer facilities.
“Beach Soccer is a cut-across sport and we hope by the time we put all structures in place, it will be everywhere in the country from schools up to the top-flight league,” said Jonga.
“We are obviously bound to meet some challenges, but no task is insurmountable. We are ready to take the sport to the next level.
“Zimbabwe should find its way to the world map of Beach Soccer.
“We will be realistic to ourselves and we will use the first year to get ready for international competitions then we can take on the continental teams.
“But, within that first year, we will strive to play within the COSAFA region and then develop from there.”
Jonga is an ally of ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa who this week also received the support of former Central Region boss Patrick Hokonya who had earlier indicated he would battle for the leadership of domestic football.