Fans plan Zifa demo

HARARE - The Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association (ZNSSA) is planning to stage a street demonstration to force stakeholders to nullify the result of last month’s Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) election.

Cuthbert Dube won the contentious poll to lead Zifa for a second term after beating the challenge of former Zifa chairman Trevor David Carelse-Juul by 44-14 in a run-off.

In the initial poll, Dube had garnered 34 votes followed by Juul with 14 while Leslie Gwindi got 10 votes and fourth candidate Nigel Munyati failed to get even a single vote.

Omega Sibanda was voted Zifa vice-president after he edged Elkana Dube 30-28.

The quartet of Bernard Gwarada, John Phiri, Fungai Chihuri and Tavengwa Hara were also voted to be members of the Zifa board during the same election.

The supporters’ body, led by former Young Warriors team manager Eddie Chivero, have raised allegations that the polls violated the Zifa constitution.

“We were not happy with the way these elections were conducted,” Chivero told the Daily News yesterday.

“The elections were supposed to start at area zones but strangely there were no elections held and people were handpicked in the zones.

“In fact, the elections started at provincial level which was supposed to have been voted for by those people in the area zones.

“For one to be in the Electoral College you need to be fully affiliated. But not all the clubs that participated were fully affiliated. You can only become a member by virtue of paying full affiliation fees.

“Most clubs in the province and some regions did not pay the affiliation fee but they participated in these elections. In all fairness they shouldn’t have participated.”

Fans plan Zifa demo
The former Njube Sundowns official also appeared to take a swipe at world football governing body, Fifa, who endorsed the election through their Southern Africa development head, Ashford Mamelodi, who was in the country to observe the poll.

“It’s so devastating that people come here and endorse those elections. People who are supposed to be questioning these things are the ones rushing to say they were free and fair,” he said.

“With all these irregularities how do you expect to get funding from the corporate world? The corporate world will not fund our football when things are done haphazardly like this.

“Even the government cannot put their money into a rotten system like this.”

Chivero added that they will take their demonstrations to the Zifa House, the Sports and Recreation Commission and to the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Andrew Langa.

“We are flat out to get clearance from the police and hopefully by next week we will stage our demonstration. We want relevant bodies to realise the gravity of having this administration in charge of our football for the next four years,” said Chivero.

Tendai Madzorere, the chairman of the Zifa Electoral Committee, however, dismissed the allegations made by ZNSSA as mere speculation.

“The elections from the area zones were done but after the actual date. The simple reason was that when we wanted to hold the elections at first there were no structures in the area zones at all.

“We reported back to Zifa and the structures were put in place to pave way for the elections to take place.”

The Zifa elections have divided opinion across the country.

Dube was re-elected despite a turbulent first term that was largely overshadowed by the board’s pursuit of the Asiagate match-fixing scandal that has left Zifa at loggerheads with Fifa.

Zifa’s debt has also continued to balloon and currently stands at over $6 million.

The country also failed to send the Under-17 and Under-20 national teams for return leg meetings in their various Confederation of African Football junior tournaments.

Meanwhile, Zifa spokesman Xolisani Gwesela has warned the supporters against taking to the streets, saying the FA had no case to answer.

“We hear there is a group of people masquerading as supporters who are planning a demonstration against the outcome of the Zifa elections. We would like to make it abundantly clear that we will not be intimidated by these so called demonstrators.

“Individuals behind this are not football people but a bunch of misguided imbeciles who want to ensure that our football is ungovernable. Surely, these are rogue and criminal elements and have no place in our peaceful country.

“Zifa Elections were credible, free and fair and one does not need a rocket scientist to see that the Electoral Committee was impartial. Zifa members spoke loudly and very clear. Their decision should be respected.

“Who are these so called supporters group to override a constitutional and democratic process? We call on the Police to be on high alert and thwart any violent conduct against our beautiful game.

“Let it be also known to all and sundry, there is only one recognised supporters group, Friends of Warriors, and any other counterfeit supporters group should be condemned with the contempt it deserves.

“Football is also governed by statutes and the Association will not hesitate to invoke them to deal with these desperate attention seekers.”
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