Former Njube Sundowns director Gift Banda, who is seeking to be elected as Zifa vice-president at next week’s executive committee elections has said the flagrant disregard for the law by the current leadership has pushed out potential sponsors, but also praised them for some of the improvements they have made to the local football fraternity.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Banda is contesting against incumbent Omega Sibanda in elections set for December 16.
He officially launched his campaign after addressing a Press conference in Bulawayo yesterday, where he said his main selling point is the return to constitutionalism.
The ex-Bulawayo deputy mayor, however, also heaped praise on Philip Chiyangwa, particularly for enabling the senior national team to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
He added that with Chiyangwa having made inroads in continental football administration, his positioning only benefits the game locally.
But he said if elected, he will ensure that the proper path is followed with regards the Zifa constitution which demands, among other things, periodic audits as well as consultation with the councillors for key decisions.
The Njube-Lobengula legislator, Felton Kamambo and Mlungisi Moyo were initially barred from contesting the election by the electoral committee, but their aggressive campaign against the decision paid dividends with Fifa directing that they be allowed to participate.
“The current executive has managed to bring us back to continental football. We are now participating in all tournaments. We need to give them a round of applause,” Banda said.
“But as I have said before, I feel they are lacking in terms of following our constitution. This is the campaign that I am taking to the councillors. They (councillors) are now realising that the moment they vote people into office, the executive committee suddenly usurps their powers, not calling for AGMs (annual general meetings) and not doing financials, among other things,” Banda said.
He added that the organisation lacks transparency in the handling of finances.
“People want to partner an organised association. If you are going out and asking for sponsorship, they will ask for audited accounts and I don’t know when last we had that at Zifa. These are some of the things that have inspired me to come into football leadership. My love for the game and for junior development is well documented.”
He said that the current administration was not doing anything for junior development.
“During the Cuthbert Dube era, the Fifa grant was finding itself to grassroots. When I was Southern Region chairman, we used to get a quarterly grant of $500. It was not much, but the money was finding itself to the intended beneficiaries. Currently, nothing is coming to grassroots and women’s football has been neglected.”
He said that he will be working with Chiyangwa and Sibanda to try and advance the interests of sport in Parliament where they will seek among other things tax rebates and other incentives for soccer sponsors.