Chiyangwa And Sibanda Have To Quit Football For Politics

THE election of Zifa president Phillip Chiyangwa and his deputy Omega Sibanda into the Parliament of Zimbabwe for the next five years is a turning point for Zimbabwean football.

Not that Chiyangwa and Sibanda will raise the issue of football in Parliament, but that the football family will have a reason to push them out of the football hierarchy now that they are more into politics.

That Chiyangwa and Sibanda decided to contest for political positions instead of waiting for the Zifa elections clearly shows that they are more interested in politics than the game of football itself.

That, however, is their choice and they have the right to do so. Chiyangwa won the Zvimba South constituency after accumulating 11 819 votes compared to closest rival Kufakunesu Chidhakwa who polled 4 886, while Sibanda got 11 350 votes against 4 809 votes.

Surely, Chiyangwa’s three-year football reign has not been a bed of roses, but it also brought some huge progress. The Mighty Warriors qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2016 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations and are on their way to the finals of the 2018 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Warriors too qualified for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and won two consecutive Cosafa Cup titles under coach Sunday Chidzambwa, who was appointed by Chiyangwa to replace the departed Kalisto Pasuwa.

More importantly to Chiyangwa’s credit is that the infighting that characterised the existence of Zifa has now subsided, that is, if it is still there at all.

There have, however, been other issues like the treatment of the Mighty Warriors either in camp or after matches, as, well as the Zifa debt which is still around $7 million despite Chiyangwa’s claims that it has been reduced to just around $2 million.

There is also the issue of junior football which continues to go on a downward spiral due to lack of attention from the national football federation.

That, however, cannot be taken as total failure, but Chiyangwa has too much on his plate to be considered to remain the Zifa boss. He is a businessman with a vast business empire. He is the president of the regional football body, Cosafa, and is now a Member of Parliament.

What happens should Chiyangwa win the Zifa presidency and he is appointed a deputy minister or a minister in the forthcoming government of Zimbabwe?

Will he have time for domestic football matters?

Under the current status quo, will Chiyangwa be able to attend parliament, deal with the Zvimba South constituency issues, turn his attention to his businesses and also have time for football’s demands, both locally and at Cosafa?

The question is: What exactly is there in football that makes one commit himself to the game even though he holds a national political office, and has other huge commitments?

Both Chiyangwa and Sibanda have come out in the open that they would be seeking re-election when Zifa elections come on December 1 with Sibanda seeking another four years having been Zifa vice-president since 2014 when Cuthbert Dube was Zifa president.

December 1 is not far away and the Zifa Council should be guided by the matters raised above when they cast their votes for their leaders for the next four years. They will have no one but themselves to blame should they come up with the wrong choices. Twice the Zifa Council voted for Zifa presidents Leo Mugabe and Cuthbert Dube only for the same councillors to pass a vote of no confidence on their choices. This will not happen as long as they vote for the right people.

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