A dose of Sugar in Zifa elec­tions

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - SPORT - Makom­borero Mu­timukulu Sports Ed­i­tor

MANICA DI­A­MONDS sec­re­tary gen­eral Sugar Chagonda looks set to add a some­what sweet taste to next week­end’s Zifa elec­tions by up­set­ting the ap­ple cart. With Zifa pres­i­dent Phillip Chiyangwa and his deputy Omega Sibanda all but guar­an­teed to re­tain their posts un­op­posed, next Sat­ur­day’s elec­tions will most likely be about six men fight­ing for four seats.

Chagonda, Phillip Machana, Chamu Chi­wanza, for­mer referee Brighton Ma­lan­d­ule, Stan­ley Chapeta and Barry Manandi are all eye­ing the Zifa board.

Machana, Chi­wanza, Ma­lan­d­ule and Chapeta are be­lieved to be aligned to the Chiyangwa camp while Chagonda and Manandi are un­der­stood to have the back­ing of those op­posed to main­tain­ing the sta­tus quo.

Machana is seek­ing to re­tain his post in the board and is wav­ing the man­ner he has man­aged to han­dle Zifa’s fi­nances to mem­bers of the Elec­toral Col­lege.

Chi­wanza is savvy and is widely ex­pected to ben­e­fit from his close­ness to Chiyangwa, the Zifa boss who still has the back­ing of a ma­jor­ity of the Zifa coun­cil­lors.

“I am con­fi­dent of be­ing elected into the Zifa board, I have an­swered the call of the foot­ball god­fa­thers and have told the coun­cil­lors what I stand for,” said Chi­wanza in an in­ter­view from Turkey, where he is on busi­ness.

Chapeta comes in with a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence and the back­ing of the cen­tral re­gion.

Chapeta, the cen­tral re­gion chair, says the “pain of see­ing a con­tin­u­ous and un­abated down­ward spi­ralling of the sport and the in­her­ent drive to help our foot­ball change pushed him into the elec­tion”.

“I have also re­alised that the image of our foot­ball na­tion­ally can only im­prove with ma­ture, rep­utable, cred­i­ble, loyal and ex­pe­ri­enced men and women manag­ing it, my­self in­cluded,” said the vet­eran ad­min­is­tra­tor.

Ma­lan­d­ule is also point­ing at his vast foot­ball ex­pe­ri­ence.

How­ever, there is a feel­ing among some in­flu­en­tial mem­bers of the Zifa As­sem­bly that a board full of Chiyangwa al­lies will not be healthy for the game.

“PC (Chiyangwa) has the Zifa pres­i­dency but he can­not have it all, one or two of his al­lies have to fall so that we don’t have a board of yes men.

“Re­mem­ber the guy is also close to PSL chair­man Farai Jere and there is no way we can ex­pect Phillip and Farai not to co­op­er­ate with each other,” said a mem­ber of the anti PC camp.

Manandi was nom­i­nated by the Zifa North­ern Re­gion and is pledg­ing to use his ex­pe­ri­ence as a mar­ket­ing ex­ec­u­tive to help trans­form the image of the soc­cer gov­ern­ing body.

“Its time to change the way we do busi­ness and I be­lieve I am have the skills needed to help out foot­ball grow,” he said.

It re­mains to be seen how much head­way Manandi has made in charm­ing mem­bers of the Zifa as­sem­bly.

Chagonda has sold his gospel through a glossy “New Be­gin­ning for the Peo­ple’s Game” man­i­festo but, cru­cially, has the “un­equiv­o­cal back­ing” of the East­ern Re­gion.

“We did not just nom­i­nate him but we are solidly be­hind him as well. Hope­fully other coun­cil­lors will see the wis­dom of vot­ing for him into the na­tional board and add value to our game,” said East­ern Re­gion chair­man Dav­i­son Muchena.

How­ever, what Muchena does not re­veal is that dur­ing the usual horse trad­ing meet­ings that al­ways char­ac­terise the elec­tion build up, his re­gion has told any­one who wants their bloc’s back­ing to de­clare their sup­port for Chagonda.

And therein lies the sugar twist to next week­end’s Zifa elec­tions!



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