Sikhumbuzo Moyo in Bulawayo
FIFA have formally given their seal of approval on the forthcoming ZIFA executive committee elections pencilled in for Harare on December 16.
The world football mother body also poured cold water on unfounded claims by social media hawks and other media reports that had suggested that they would be setting up a normalisation committee.
It had also been speculated that FIFA would send a normalisation crew to take charge of the national game on flimsy claims that there was a major crisis in Zimbabwe and that football had ground to a halt in the country.
A bid to try and push FIFA into setting up a normalisation committee was first mooted by the proponents of the Sandton Project when they met in South Africa in March.
The project — a clandestine mission meant to paralyse operations at ZIFA — also sucked in some Sport and Recreation Commission officials and a group of the association’s former presidents, who sought to bounce back as members of the normalisation committee.
As the build-up to the December 16 elections became intoxicated by claims and counter-accusations, there had been talk that FIFA would assign a normalisation team to take charge of Zimbabwean football.
The elections will see the 60 delegates meeting to elect the ZIFA president, his deputy and the four members of the executive committee.
In an emailed response to Chronicle Sports, the FIFA media department said the organisation will be sending a delegation to observe the December 16 elections.
“FIFA is monitoring the situation in relation to the ZIFA elections and will deploy a delegation to observe the elective congress on 16 December 2018.
“Please note that we have no further comment on this matter,” said the FIFA spokesperson.
A normalisation committee is normally set up in an attempt to stop the “wrangling” of the stakeholders, where they will be unable to agree on basic issues around electoral process and stakeholder representation.
The normalisation committee is charged with running the daily affairs of the football association, drafting new laws that fulfil the requirements of FIFA statutes as well as the national law, review the statutes of regional federations and the domestic league competition to ensure their alignment, identifying the representative bodies to form the congress, as well as in regional federations, and conducting elections to form a new board.
But with FIFA confirming that they will be sending a delegation for the upcoming elections, it means the ZIFA electoral process has been endorsed and is in line with expected local and international football statutes.
Incumbent president Philip Chiyangwa will square off against former executive committee member Felton Kamambo, while Chiyangwa’s deputy Omega Sibanda faces the challenge of Gift Banda.
Banda served on the ZIFA board in 2010. Five candidates, Bryton Malandule, Chamu Chiwanza, Stanley Chapeta, Sugar Chagonda and incumbent Philemon Machana will vie for the four executive committee posts.
Kamambo and Banda are on record as saying they are confident of winning the elections, with Banda boasting that 70 percent of the voting delegates are in the structures of his opposition political party MDC.