Get Zifa polls done and out of the way

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Comment & Opinion -

E LECTIONS to choose the foot­ball lead­er­ship in Zim­babwe and else­where in the world are al­ways a con­tentious is­sue but the bat­tles for lead­er­ship po­si­tions of­ten get uglier in Africa.

The Zim­babwe Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (ZIFA) is no ex­cep­tion to the kind of elec­tions that are pre­ceded by bit­ter cam­paign fights some of which border on mud­sling­ing.

Many a time foot­ball ad­min­is­tra­tors put aside their glossy man­i­festos and en­gage in per­sonal bat­tles, of­ten to the detri­ment of the game.

De­vel­op­ment, which is key to form­ing the bedrock of any suc­cess­ful sport­ing na­tion, is pushed into the shade if not to­tally ig­nored as en­er­gies are ex­pended on cam­paign trails to woo the votes of the Elec­toral Col­lege.

In the case of ZIFA, their 2018 elec­tion has not been short on con­tro­versy es­pe­cially ahead of the polls for the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee.

The de­ci­sion by the Elec­toral Com­mit­tee to dis­qual­ify three can­di­dates — Fel­ton Ka­mambo, Gift Banda and Mlun­gusi Moyo

— only to re­in­state them, is not the best of build-ups this and any other elec­tion needed.

But to its credit the Elec­toral Com­mit­tee ac­knowl­edged its er­rors, sought and re­ceived guid­ance from the world soc­cer govern­ing body FIFA and with the bless­ings of the Zurich-based in­sti­tu­tion, they resched­uled the dates for the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee elec­tions.

FIFA also wel­comed the re­in­state­ment of Ka­mambo and Banda, who on De­cem­ber 16 will chal­lenge in­cum­bents Philip Chiyangwa and Omega Sibanda for the pres­i­dency and vice-pres­i­dency, re­spec­tively.

And on Wed­nes­day FIFA through their sec­re­tary-gen­eral Fatma Samoura con­firmed that the ZIFA polls would go ahead on De­cem­ber 16 as ad­vised by the Elec­toral Com­mit­tee and threw away the chal­lenge by Ka­mambo to have the elec­tions de­ferred to next year.

FIFA also strongly re­buked Ka­mambo for drag­ging their high-rank­ing of­fi­cials into the mud­sling­ing that has char­ac­terised the way some can­di­dates have gone about their busi­ness.

Ka­mambo’s sug­ges­tions that FIFA’s di­rec­tor for de­vel­op­ment in Africa and the Caribbean Veron Mosengo-Omba was com­pro­mised and should not be al­lowed to ob­serve the ZIFA polls did not go down well with the in­ter­na­tional body.

FIFA were also clear that the best route af­ter all the al­le­ga­tions is for the elec­tions to go ahead on De­cem­ber 16 and for the can­di­dates to con­form with the roadmap for the polls.

“. . . FIFA, upon re­ceipt of var­i­ous al­le­ga­tions in re­la­tion to ZIFA’s elec­toral process has sought ex­pla­na­tions from the ZIFA ad­min­is­tra­tion and its Elec­toral Com­mit­tee”.

That FIFA have been sat­is­fied that ZIFA statutes that are di­rectly re­lated to this elec­tion have been fol­lowed shows the due dili­gence which the world pays to is­sues per­tain­ing to mem­ber as­so­ci­a­tions.

They in­ter­vened and as­sisted the con­tentious South African Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion’s elec­tions where main ri­val to in­cum­bent Danny Jor­dan, Andile “Ace’’ Ncobo, just like Ka­mambo made a host of claims and even asked the world body to place SAFA un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion.

We thus wel­come the sug­ges­tion that FIFA have made to Ka­mambo and all as­pir­ing can­di­dates that the elec­tion must go ahead on De­cem­ber 16 as the Elec­toral Com­mit­tee have sat­is­fied the statu­tory pro­vi­sions.

The Elec­toral Com­mit­tee sat­is­fied the re­quire­ment to is­sue two weeks’ no­tice re­quired to sub­mit the fi­nal list of can­di­dates to the mem­bers of ZIFA (cf. art.32 par.7 of the ZIFA Statutes).

It is time that the ZIFA elec­tive congress get the elec­tion done and out of the of the way so that all those in lead­er­ship can fo­cus on their re­spec­tive tasks.

Zim­babwe is al­ready lag­ging be­hind some coun­tries in the re­gion, no­tably South Africa, Zam­bia and Botswana, who have a num­ber of vi­able and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes in place.

The do­mes­tic game needs to con­vince cor­po­rate partners that there is sta­bil­ity in the game and that there is a sub­stan­tive lead­er­ship they can deal with.

That can only be done when there is no end­less bick­er­ing in the name of elec­tion cam­paign­ing.

In just three months, Zim­babwe’s War­riors face a cru­cial African Cup of nations qual­i­fier at home against Congo which they must win or draw to se­cure their pale at the tour­na­ment’s fi­nals in June next year.

The Young War­riors are cur­rently do­ing well at the on­go­ing COSAFA Un­der-20 Cham­pi­onships and such de­vel­op­men­tal squads are del­i­cate and need a ded­i­cated lead­er­ship to lay the ground­work for nur­tur­ing them.

But if ev­ery­one is fo­cused on cam­paign­ing who will be look­ing into the needs of such teams?

The sooner the elec­tions are out of the way the bet­ter it is for ev­ery­one as they will know there will be un­der the Chiyangwa lead­er­ship or the Ka­mambo ad­min­is­tra­tion for the next four years.

We say may the best man win but ul­ti­mately foot­ball must be the big­gest win­ner.

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