ZIMBABWE’S Beach Soccer, which has until now just existed in name only, is set to begin a new era this morning when the stakeholders of this ZIFA affiliate to decide on which direction they want their game to take in the next four years.
The stakeholders must choose who between incumbent chairman Joseph Musariri and his rival Marshal Jonga, to entrust with leading this version of the game.
Musariri would have to convince the electorate that he deserves yet another term to turn around Beach Soccer beyond the seven years in which he has been at the helm where, virtually, nothing has happened.
The veteran administrator did not do himself a lot of good either, earlier this week, when he made a futile attempt to suspend his rival from the poll.
That bid to suspend Jonga was quashed by ZIFA with the football mother body clarifying that the build-up to the polls was now being administered by the Electoral Committee which had since verified the eligibility of the candidates and the electoral college.
Jonga has been preaching a gospel of “refreshing change’’ in his manifesto arguing that the Beach Soccer stakeholders would have to critically decide whether they wanted the game to progress or remain stagnant.
“It is not a secret that nothing much has happened in Beach Soccer for seven years hence we are not visible in schools and clubs around the country.
“But I am raring to go and take Beach Soccer to another level.
“Things are going to change and change for the better. Let’s make Beach Soccer visible in schools, tertiary institutions and around the country.
“Let Beach Soccer be the one to give Zimbabwe its first taste of a FIFA World Cup, let it be the one to give this country its first African Cup of Nations soccer title. We have the capacity and we have the potential.
“Beach Soccer can also be the hub of sport tourism in this country and I have the plans and the capacity to implement that,’’ Jonga said.
Football cheerleader Chris “Romario’’ Musekiwa, who has always expressed an interest in Beach and Five A-side Soccer, also called on the game’s stakeholders to fully apply themselves into charting the way forward for the sport.
Musekiwa said his major plea to the Beach Soccer administrators was to ensure that the game be made visible and accessible to a lot of enthusiasts dotted around the country.
“We as soccer fans are equally shocked to hear that Beach Soccer exists in the country,’’ he said.
“Since its inception some years ago the game has remained permanently in hibernation or underground owing to lack of a vibrant and visionary leadership which would have brought the presence of this game to the fore.
“The inactivity and lack of universal participation in this otherwise exciting game has deprived the country of so many investments opportunities, talent identification and development.
“Brazilian legends Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Romario at one time played Beach Soccer and boosted its popularity in that country.