By Munyaradzi Madzokere
When former Zifa president Phillip Chiyangwa withdrew from the rerun during the local football association’s election in December last year to hand his rival Felton Kamambo victory, a breath of fresh air engulfed the football fraternity.
Finally a leader with genuine and traceable football credentials had emerged and hopes were high that the local game had flipped a new page.
In his election manifesto, Kamambo, among other things, promised to right all the wrongs done by the previous Chiyangwa-led board.
But nine months on, Kamambo has turned out to be another version of Chiyangwa — that is if he has not already made the latter look like a genius football
In his manifesto, Kamambo deplored the then leadership’s penchant to suspend administrators who seemingly had a different view for what he referred to as
“My administration shall grant amnesty to all individuals suspended and banned from football since 2015 and shall ensure that all future disciplinary
proceedings are conducted in line with the Zifa and Fifa statutes. We shall strengthen our judicial bodies so that non-judicial organs do not interfere with
issues of a disciplinary nature,” he said in his manifesto.
Barely eight months down the line, the former Central Region boss’s reign has, however, been characterised by the wanton suspensions of administrators and
individuals, something which had become an unwanted soundtrack of his predecessor Chiyangwa’s reign.
Less than one month after taking over at Zifa, Kamambo suspended his own deputy Gift Banda for allegedly reshuffling the Warriors technical team without the
board’s consent. This case remains unresolved almost seven months since the suspension, while board member (finance)Philimon Machana has assumed the position
of “acting vice-president”.
Since then, Chiyangwa’s former vice-president Omega Sibanda and board member Chamu Chiwanza have also been slapped with bans for various alleged transgressions
and considering the trajectory local football has been taking, it might not be too long before there are many other suspensions in the near future.
The current Zifa administration has also targeted certain players in the Warriors set up, who are believed to have caused the stalemate over allowances and
bonuses when the team was at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, something which his predecessor also did during his tenure in charge.
Just like the Chiyangwa administration which promised to conduct a forensic audit as soon they were in office, the Kamambo administration also made it a
“The forensic audit shall be carried out immediately after my assumption of the presidency of Zifa,” Kamambo said in his manifesto.
“The exercise, which shall not be a witch-hunt, shall however, interrogate the association operations and systems before a new football dispensation is rolled
However, almost eight months into Kamambo’s tenure as Zifa boss, the association is yet to hold a forensic audit while very little if anything at all has been
said in that regard.
The failure to conduct an audit of the debt-ridden football association comes at a time when the current Zifa board, just like their predecessors, have been
facing allegations of mismanagement of funds.
“Funds of the association were deposited into individuals’ accounts. The secretariat’s functions were usurped as some individuals assumed roles of members of
the secretariat,” Kamambo said in his manifesto although the same allegations are now being levelled against his administration.
One of the biggest criticisms during Chiyangwa’s tenure was against Zifa’s failure to invest in junior football.
Kamambo, on the other hand promised to invest a lot in community football by enlisting the services of retired footballers, administrators, referees, local
authorities, institutions of higher learning, churches, private academies, uniformed forces, UN departments, ZOC, SRC, CAF and Fifa.
While it may be too early to judge the Kamambo-led Zifa in this regard, his board already appears to be expending a lot of energy on the endless boardroom
wars while putting very little effort on football development.
Under the previous administration, issues to do with player remuneration always used to hog the limelight with Warriors players boycotting a sendoff dinner
ahead of the 2017 Afcon finals after a standoff over allowances and bonuses.
Chiyangwa’s administration was also accused of doing very little to attend to the plight of the girl child especially in terms of remuneration, let alone the development of women football in Zimbabwe.
The same issues continue to stalk local football after the Kamambo-led Zifa board’s failure to manage issues to do with the Warriors’ allowances and bonuses at
the Afcon finals in Egypt which resulted in players threatening to boycott matches.
The current leadership has also done very little for women football and only last week the team almost failed to travel to Zambia for a tournament because of the allowance dispute.