Gumbo battles Sibanda for top post

Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
WOMEN football stakeholders will today decide who will lead them in the next four years in an election set for the Zifa Village in Mount Hampden.
Incumbent Zimbabwe Women Football chairperson, Mavis Gumbo, will lock horns with challenger, Miriam Sibanda in today’s elections.
Both women are confident they will win the election with Gumbo riding on her success after she managed to revive women football when she came into office in 2010 while Sibanda is hoping her vision for development will see her winning.

Gumbo came into office in 2010 and is seeking another term in office as she believes she has some unfinished business in women football having spent the past four years on reviving the sport that had stalled.

“In the four years I have been leading women football, we have seen the rise of a committed team of players, administrators, sports doctors, referees, media and fans.

“We have also seen the coming on board of corporate sponsors who have changed the face of the game.
“In 2009, the women’s game was at an all-time low. From the heights of 2002 when we hosted the Cosafa tournament and reached the finals, we had sunk below the ground level.

“We revived and grew the Zimbabwe Women Soccer League from Zero to 12 teams. We successfully created a new region, Central Region, to see the decentralisation and growth of the game.

“We grew the profile of the Mighty Warriors and raised their ranking from 22nd in Africa and 117th in the world to 9th in Africa and 82nd in the world. We are still moving up,” said Gumbo

During her leadership the Zimbabwe Women football lobbied for a change in the Zifa constitution to give women a greater voice in football.

Women football now has four councillors up from two.

Mavis Gumbo
Gumbo has also managed to get sponsorship for the Mighty Warriors and Young Mighty Warriors’ participation in the All-Africa Games, Under-20 Women’s World Cup qualifiers and African Women Championships qualifiers.

The Under-20 team won the Zone VI Games title and she led the Mighty Warriors to training and friendly matches in Egypt, South Africa, Uruguay, Germany, Lesotho, Zambia, Tanzania and Botswana.

With her team Gumbo, also secured sponsorship from Marange Resources for a National League and the national teams, before securing a knock-out tournament sponsorship from NetOne.

However, questions remain over the Marange deal after the National Super League clubs failed to get their prizes at the end of the season in 2012 and the league failed to take place last year.

Sibanda feels the focus has been more on the Mighty Warriors than another facets of the game.
“My desire to be Zimbabwe Women Football National Association chairperson stems from a growing passion for the beautiful game coupled with deep-rooted desire to see women thrive alongside men in all walks of life.

“Worldwide, interest in women football is growing and Zimbabwe is no exception. By seeking election as a chairperson, I am offering myself to be part of a team that will propel women football to great heights.

“A multi-prolonged approach to tackling fundamental football issues will be my strategy to enhance Zimbabwe women football. The ultimate goal, if elected, is greater participation of women of all ages in various sectors of the football industry,” said Sibanda.

Sibanda noted that the fundamental issue was increasing the games and women playing through reviving the National Super League.
She also wants to strengthen grassroots, provincial and regional structures as well as setting up national junior teams.

“Zimbabwe National Women Football’s core business is and must remain that of developing women football from grassroots up to elite club level.
“Our business is and must always be to produce the best tactical and technical players that the mother body, Zifa can select from to form national teams.

“The success of our women national teams will be our barometer of success without taking the mandate to manage national teams from Zifa,” Sibanda said.
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