ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa will today send an explosive dossier to FIFA and the Government over the alleged interference by a number of individuals, including the Sports Commission bosses — Edward Siwela and Joseph Mucheterere — and a “cabal of criminals”, meant to destabilise the running of the national game in this country.
The Harare business tycoon had a one-hour chat with the FIFA leadership last night at which he provided them with a graphic illustration of how some former ZIFA bosses were now working in cahoots with the Sports Commission’s leading officials to destabilise the running of domestic football.
Chiyangwa was asked by the FIFA leadership to provide a detailed written submission of what was happening in the country after he protested at what he claims to be a coalition of forces, who include some “power-hungry from ZIFA bosses and the SRC leaders”, to paralyse the administration of football in the country.
Relations between Chiyangwa and his immediate lieutenants on the ZIFA board, vice-president Omega Sibanda and finance guru Philemon Machana – on one side and the SRC chairman Siwela and acting director general Siwela, have always been frosty.
The ZIFA leaders believe the two SRC bosses have been on a witch-hunt to try and destablise the operations of the national game and have now ganged up with some former ZIFA leaders who are part of the Sandton Project.
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister, Kazembe Kazembe, recently brought the ZIFA leaders and the two Sports Commission bosses to a round-table in his offices in Harare and asked them to smoke the peace pipe while also to find ways of working together for the development of football in the country.
However, Chiyangwa claims that the SRC duo have not heeded that call and have been working clandestinely with some forces who have been trying to destablise the running of the game and he had now advised his superiors at FIFA about what is happening.
Last night he spoke at length with the leadership in Zurich who asked him to forward them with a dossier of the issues he had raised and supporting material to back his claims that, indeed there was gross interference, especially from the Sports Commission.
“When the Minister clearly told us, the last time he called us to his office for what was a good meeting, to find each other and work towards the development of the game, we believed that we had buried the past and we were now moving into a future where things will be done according to the book and not to try and destablise our operations,” Chiyangwa said.
“However, we have realised that we were wrong, we had been duped by our colleagues from the SRC, especially Siwela and Muchechetere, who appear to have made it their mission that our leadership has to fall at all costs even though they have, so far, failed in that endeavour.
“What we have been picking from those whom they are meeting and talking to, including some criminals who should have no role to play in the administration of our football, is shocking and the time has come for us to tell them that, contrary to what they believe, we are aware of their machinations.
“What I have done is that I have alerted FIFA of what these guys are doing and my long chat with my bosses in Zurich was fruitful and they have asked me to provide them with a written submission of everything that has been happening and I am doing exactly that.
“I will also send another copy to the Government, through the Permanent Secretary in the Sports Ministry, so that the Minister is aware of what these guys, who have chosen not to take the path he prescribed for us, have been doing.
“They have been plotting against us, at any given time, and we have been quiet but the time has come to say it loud and clear that we are aware of what they are doing and they will not threaten us because we stand on firm ground.
“They can spend the next 10 years lying to their cabals, telling them they will help them get into office, which is sinking too low for people who are supposed to be our superintendents but I want to tell Siwela and Muchechetere that those will remain just their dreams and wishful thinking.
“We have been quiet and they have been aggressive and the time has now come for us to take them head on because what have they done to help football in the past save for just interfering in its affairs and thinking we should bow down to them because they are from the SRC?
“When the ZIFA debt was spinning out of control, from $500 000 to $7 million, where were they when they should have intervened to say that, wait, those guys who were at ZIFA were not doing things professionally and should be held to account for the way they were feasting on the association and destroying the organisation?
“They kept quiet because they were happy to see ZIFA sink and now they want to behave as if they can bully us when they failed to bully those people who destroyed this organisation.”
Chiyangwa said he found it strange that a Sports Commission, which gets levies from the PSL matches and every international game which is held in this country, was not there to help the Warriors when they needed only $68 000 to save their 2018 World Cup campaign.
“What did Siwela and Muchechetere do when things were getting out of hand with that World Cup issue, can they tell us how much they helped raise to give to ZIFA and try and save our World Cup, of course, nothing,” said Chiyangwa.
“When we came in, ZIFA had only a month to pay a bigger debt, more than $180 000, which is three times what pushed us out of the 2018 World Cup, to save the 2022 World Cup and we did not even see a letter of commitment from Siwela and Muchechetere of what they were doing to help the situation.
“Instead, we paid off that amount, in just one month, and that is why we are going to be part of the 2022 World Cup and yet these people want to keep bullying us and our message to them is very clear, we are not afraid of them because they have not done anything to help football but are just masters in destablising the game.”