ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa — swamped by a pressing international schedule — has been forced to take a somewhat back seat from the domestic game in the next few weeks as he shifts attention to Fifa, Caf and Cosafa business.


The Harare property mogul, a key figure in the boardroom politics at the Confederation of African Football, is expected to attend the continental body’s general assembly meeting in Morocco on February 2.

Chiyangwa will then head to Oman for the Fifa Football Summit on February 7, while nine days later he will travel to Johannesburg for the Cosafa executive committee meeting that will precede the regional body’s annual meeting a day later.

Zifa communications and competitions manager Xolisani Gwesela confirmed in a statement yesterday that Chiyangwa’s tight schedule on the international front would mean that his deputy Omega Sibanda and other executive committee members would be running the show in the domestic game.

“The Zimbabwe Football Association would like to inform all football stakeholders that the president, Dr Philip Chiyangwa, will be exclusively attending to his international portfolios from the 8th of January, 2018 to the 31st of March, 2018.

“During this period, he will entirely focus on international football programmes, where he will attend the Cosafa Annual General Meeting, the Caf Ordinary General Assembly and the Fifa Executive Football Summit. Consequently, all scheduled meetings with the president within the period in concern have been shelved indefinitely. During Dr Chiyangwa’s absence, Mr Omega Sibanda will be the acting president and will superintend all Zifa issues with the assistance of fellow Executive Committee members,” Gwesela said.

The Zifa spokesman also insisted that the board had capable men who could steer the association in the absence of their leader.

Gwesela suggested that the domestic game needed to disabuse itself of the notion that everything at Zifa was about their president.

“Zifa is not centred around Dr Chiyangwa, there is a secretariat to do day-to-day work and there is an executive committee whose members have different portfolios which they execute . . . we have the vice president Omega Sibanda also being in charge of technical development and administration, Philemon Machana is in charge of finance, Piraishe Mabhena runs the competitions and club licensing portfolios and Felton Kamambo takes charge of Futsal and Beach soccer.

“So in the absence of the president he has an able-bodied executive that can run the game,” Gwesela said.

The Caf executive, at their meeting in Casablanca, Morocco last week came up with a raft of measures that will have a huge impact on the administration of the game and which set the tone for their general assembly indaba.

“At its meeting today in Casablanca, the Caf Executive Committee chaired by Caf President Ahmad took the following decisions:

“Effective 2018, indemnities of referees designated for Caf matches, will be paid directly by Caf. This historic decision is a materialisation of a campaign promise by the Caf President. Till now, the regulations required host associations to pay these indemnities.

“The decision reduces the financial burden on national associations and also eliminates an ethical challenge because it removes the suspicion perceived between national associations and the referees.

“Validation of candidates for the four vacancies on the Caf Executive Committee, for which an election will be organised during the Ordinary General Assembly on 2 February 2018 in Casablanca;

North zone (1 position) — candidate: Jamal El Jaafri (Libya)

West A Zone (1 position) — candidate: Augustin Senghor (Senegal)

West B Zone (1 position) — candidate: Sita Sangare (Burkina Faso)

Central Zone (1 position) — Candidates: Patrice Edouard Ngaissona (Central African Republic) and Pierre Alain Mounguengui (Gabon)

Only one application was disqualified by the Executive Committee for failure to meet the statutory deadlines, which is that of Bachir Ould Zmirli (Algeria).

“Approval of the calendar of the inter-club competitions for the year 2018 and modification of the regulations of these competitions, with an additional draw before the quarter-finals stage.

“Implementation in 2018 of the African Football Symposium resolution of a change in periodicity for club competitions.

“The next season as a transition will begin in December and end in May 2019 with a more rigorous application of the Club Licensing regulations. By 2019, the cycle will run from September to May of the following year.

5. As part of preparations for Total CHAN Ethiopia 2020, a CAF inspection team will conduct an inspection in the country during the first quarter of 2018.

6. The “fieldwiz” kit, a technological device for better monitoring of players’ performances, already offered by CAF to the five African qualified teams for the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, will also be donated to the other 49 Member Associations,” CAF said in their statement.

Interestingly, Chiyangwa, a kingmaker in the administration corridors at CAF, ever since successfully campaigning for Ahmad’s ascension to the presidency on March 16 last year, is expected to play a part in the campaigning for the vacant slots on the executive.

Chiyangwa has also enjoyed good relations with Fifa, whose funding endured that he had a successful maiden year in charge of Cosafa as they bankrolled their four competitions.

In the first year of his term as Cosafa boss, Chiyangwa oversaw the successful staging of four tournaments by the regional body, with the Castle Cup in South Africa, for the senior men, the Under-17 competition in Mauritius, the biggest women’s championships in the history of the body in Bulawayo and the Under-20 tourney in Zambia.

That such traditional powerhouses like Egypt agreed to send their youth team as a guest nation at the Under-20 tournament in Zambia underlined the strides that Cosafa have made in junior development.

Cosafa has also been the most active zone under Caf.

Despite his international engagements, the huge responsibility of steering the Zifa ship has not been lost on Chiyangwa, who has barely taken a break from the game since assuming office in December 2015 as he has also been working round the clock to secure funding deals for the national teams and the soccer mother body’s other commitments.