Mukudzei Chingwere Sports Reporter
ONE of Zimbabwe’s longest serving football administrators, Brian Chishanga, on Saturday sensationally pulled out of the race for re-election as ZIFA Midlands chairman at the last minute after his former secretary, Pervious Mathe, had challenged him.
Chishanga, widely referred to as the “Archbishop of Football” in the province, started his flirtation with the game’s administration at club level in 1981, joining ZIFA as the chairman of Mashonaland West in 1987.
His tenure at ZIFA was briefly halted for three years when he lost re-election for a second term as Mashonaland West chairman to former Zimpapers Chief Executive and Chairman Justin Mutasa in the early 90s.
He moved to Midlands and became vice-chairman in the mid-90s before being elevated to chairman in 1998 a post he has held until Saturday.
Chishanga received a standing ovation at the venue of the elections in Gweru when he announced he was pulling out of the plebiscite just moments before the electorate had cast their votes.
“I have decided to pull out to let this team of young administrators come in. I have been chairman for Midlands for 20 years and I feel it is the right time to challenge for a higher office.
“There are regional and national elections coming so I will have to make a decision. I wish Mathe the best and above all the very best for football,” said Chishanga.
Though he is yet to make it official, the veteran administrator has told friends that he will be running for a post in the regional elections. He is yet to decide on the position he prefers but is said not to be interested on the chairmanship position currently held by Stanley Chapeta. Mathe will work with his deputy George Sibangani, four board members Farayi Ngulube, Petros Phiri, Solomon Nyathi and Brian Musundire.
“I am happy to lead the province and I promise to champion a lot of developmental projects to help the growth of football. “Football has not developed in the province for a very long time, there was no co-ordination of structures, junior teams and area zones have suffered because of the bad administration and I want to correct this.
“I have learnt a lot from Mr Chishanga during the time we worked together and I am really grateful for his guidance,” said Mathe.