ZIFA board member finance Philemon Machana is ready to fight to retain his place on the executive committee, but believes that some smear campaigns by some hawks seeking to woo votes will not sway councillors at Sunday’s election in Harare.
Machana will be one of six candidates vying for the four slots that are available for the executive committee member posts.
The other contestants are former referee Brighton Malandule, public relations executive Sugar Chagonda, businessman Chamu Chiwanza, Central region chairman Stanley Chapeta and former Chicken Inn official Mlungisi Moyo.
Machana and the other five contestants must convince the ZIFA Congress that they deserve a place on the executive committee.
But the Harare businessman, credited with tightening the ZIFA books of accounts and ensuring the association is not milked by dubious creditors believes he has done enough to secure a fresh mandate from the assembly.
The ZIFA finance guru was, however, last night not amused with the manner in which “some hawks have turned to smear campaigns which border on defamation and character assassination instead of focussing on football issues and selling one’s manifesto to the electorate’’.
Some of the hawks have taken to social media to try and portray an image of a ZIFA House that is burning ahead of Sunday’s polls, but Machana insisted that the men and women who make up the congress were very alert to what they would want for the association.
Machana is also expected to table the association’s audited accounts at Sunday’s indaba.
“Councillors will as usual have unfettered and open interaction with me on Sunday, where the report shall be unpacked, explained and all questions pertaining to the accounts will be answered by me.
“Esteemed councillors, and not speculators or faceless characters bent on character assassination, really know what they want as members of ZIFA and they are men and women of honour who know and see beyond cheap propaganda or smear campaigns as will be shown when they cast their votes,’’ Machana said.
Such is the significance of a ZIFA board election, that it, just like the national parliamentary and presidential elections, attracts international observers.
Both FIFA and CAF will on Sunday also send observers to the polls, with Football Association of Malawi president Walter Nyamilandu representing the continental body.
Just like Machana, incumbent vice-president Omega Sibanda lashed out at “cheap smear campaigning’’.
Sibanda said he noted that there were some who had failed to sell their programmes to the electorate and had resorted “to creating imagined fights between Philip Chiyangwa and myself’’.
“I hear some (people claiming that PC (Chiyangwa) has dumped me and all sorts of claims, but I don’t vote, Philip doesn’t vote, it is the congress that votes.
“One can see that it is the work of evil and narrow minds who are used to seeing divisions everywhere in our football.
“It is the delegates who will converge on Sunday who know what they want, who know what we started and what we have achieved and what we have set to achieve.
“There are a number of achievements that we have scored in a short space of time and just today (yesterday) we saw the fruits of our development programmes when our Under-20 team won silver at the COSAFA tournament.
“I also note with concern and disgust that we are being accused of causing arrests of people, but at ZIFA we do not have the capacity to arrest people, anyone who has issues with the law enforcement agents in this country must carry their own cross without trying to drag the name and image of the association or its principals,’’ Sibanda said.
Sibanda, just like all the other candidates, has also intensified his campaign trail ahead of the election.
The crunch ZIFA election will also see association president Chiyangwa facing Felton Kamambo, while Sibanda must do battle against Gift Banda for the vice-president’s position.