THE chorus condemning rebellious ZIFA board members Piraishe Mabhena and Felton Kamambo grew louder yesterday with more of the association’s provincial leaders slamming the pair’s bid to try and undermine the authorities in charge of the national game.
Mabhena and Kamambo quit their posts on the ZIFA board last week with the duo literally suggesting that their colleagues in the establishment — Philip Chiyangwa, Omega Sibanda and Philemon Machana — should also follow suit.
The pair claimed in their resignation letters that they were stepping down because the term of office of the ZIFA establishment expired on March 29.
Those suggestions have not gone down well with the councillors.
Regional leaders Willard Manyengavana and Musa Mandaza and provincial chairmen for Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West, Gilbert Saika and Derick Matapure were the first to dismiss the resignations as a non-event that would be of no force or effect to the administration of the game.
Yesterday the condemnation on the actions by Mabhena and Kamambo grew louder with Midlands province chairman Brian Chishanga, Naboth Magwizi of Masvingo and Manicaland’s Kuziva Nyabeza adding their voices.
Chishanga, one of the longest serving members of the ZIFA Congress said calls for the leadership to step down on the basis of an “expired term were baseless and will not change the status quo’’.
“Kamambo and Mabhena are talking about the constitution but when we went for a meeting at Prophet Magaya’s hotel in Waterfalls last year we said it was unconstitutional and that we needed 60 days’ notice which led to the postponement of the meeting to 17 February when we then held the AGM at Crowne Plaza.
“During that AGM we had some introspection on why the AGM didn’t take place in 2017 and we agreed that if it had taken place we would have set the election process in motion earlier. We then ratified the electoral committee that had been appointed and Kamambo and Mabhena sat in that meeting but none of them stood up to oppose even when we made a resolution to wait for guidelines from FIFA.
“They should not try and hold the association to ransom now and try and cause unnecessary divisions saying everyone should go because their terms have expired. We are not going to be hoodwinked by mob psychology which they are trying to create.
“We agree with them that elections should be held and we do not fear elections but there should be a smooth transition of power through the election process that is following the roadmap that was agreed to on 17 February.
“I have been in football for a long time and even if I lose elections tomorrow I do not mind but I should be able to hand over to my successor and show him that there is football in Nembudziya, Mberengwa, Gokwe, all those areas,’’ Chishanga said.
Chishanga also said the ZIFA Congress would not be dragged into another revocation of the national establishment.
“We will not repeat the mistake that we made when we let Mashingaidze (former ZIFA chief executive) to run football for 90 days during which time ZIFA property was looted and the messenger of court was a daily visitor even attaching waste paper baskets.
“FIFA are still going to respond and we await that response,’’ Chishanga said. Magwizi threw his weight behind the ZIFA board and said he wondered at “the obsession that some individuals have with power and elections’’ adding that his province was focussing on growing the game in their constituencies more than elections which would eventually come when the time became due.
“We have no problems with the current leadership because we went for the AGM on 17 February and we resolved to wait for the roadmap but we did not resolve to create a leadership vacuum.
“We know elections are inevitable. If you look at SAFA, they have a more or less similar situation with us their football is continuing, so why should we be misled by power-hungry people. Just two years ago we appointed Chiyangwa and we wonder what wrong he has done now? We can’t just be changing leaders.
“If anything we want continuity and we want our football to continue with the stability it has enjoyed during Chiyangwa’s time which allows those in the affiliates like ours to focus on looking for sponsorships deals which is what our football needs,’’ Magwizi said.
Nyabeza urged councillors to remain resolute and accused those involved in the rebellion of “trying to fan friction and divisions at the expense of development. “Our colleagues Kamambo and Mabhena did not really have constituencies to report to and therefore did not fully understand what it means to represent area zones or clubs that are making a lot of sacrifices to develop football.
“When I look at their actions, it’s not just betraying Chiyangwa but they are trying to betray us as Congress. The same people who caused the postponement of the AGM are the same people who are now saying elections are long overdue.
“The two were serving at our mercy and why should they want to act as if we are the ones serving at their mercy. Elections will properly decide who the next leaders will be when the time comes. “Instead of worrying about the drama they are trying to cause I am more worried about the teams in my province for example I have a team in Checheche where Masimba Dinyero is now coaching and that needs to travel to play in Mutare and we need to look for sponsorships to motivate such clubs and also develop our juniors,’’ Nyabeza said.