Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa has ended speculation about the future of the association’s chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze by revealing that he has resisted pressure from some sectors of the domestic game to wield the axe.
There had been mounting speculation in the domestic football that Chiyangwa would, upon assuming office, fire the head of the ZIFA secretariat with some of Mashingaidze’s fiercest critics citing him as the Achilles Heel in the administration of the national game.
Others even suggested that Chiyangwa would not last the distance in his tenure which runs until 2018 if he chose to retain Mashingaidze.
Chiyangwa swept to the biggest football administrative office in the land after thumping his opponents — Trevor Carelse Juul, Leslie Gwindi and James Takavada — in the December 5 election.
Just over two months into office, the Harare property mogul has made it clear he will not be influenced into sacking his secretary-general and instead gave Mashingaidze a vote of confidence during the induction workshop which FIFA held with the new ZIFA board in Nyanga last weekend.
That Chiyangwa and Mashingaidze are expected to team up with ZIFA vice-president Omega Sibanda today when they fly out to Zurich, Switzerland, for the landmark FIFA elections to choose a leader for the world soccer governing body is further testimony of the coordination between the chief executive and his bosses.
The FIFA congress will on Friday cast their ballots to choose Sepp Blatter’s successor.
Crucially for Mashingaidze, Chiyangwa also repeated his faith in his chief executive during a live ZBC television show — Game Plan — on Monday night.
The ZIFA boss said although his board had decided on a staff rationalisation programme to contain the association’s wage bill, Mashingaidze will not be among those that will be shown the exit door.
Chiyangwa yesterday also saluted FIFA development officer for Southern Africa Ashford Mamelodi for the manner in which he conducted the induction course.
“When I came in there was a lot of pressure for me to fire Mashingaidze but I want to stress that as long as I am ZIFA president, he will be here,” Chiyangwa said. “I have an excellent working relationship with him. He is also very good when it comes to communication and writing letters to all stakeholders.
“In fact I have also noticed that nobody has been able to train our staff (at the ZIFA offices) to take everything as business and it is one area which we will help to strengthen.
“Up until the induction that we had it was like plying your trade in the wilderness and I must say the induction was an eye opener . . . it gave us the parameters that each has to exercise in terms of the roles from the secretariat to the aboard.
“It spelt out the way that we should do business and it explained the many thorny issues and how to resolve those thorny issues for instance when we have appointed the chairmen of sub-committees and how to fill up those committees.
“What came out clear is that the chairmen of committees (ZIFA bard members) will choose members of the committee as they deem fit although I would sanitise that to say when you have the congress you will still need to explain to them.
“There was so much concern that the councillors would choose who goes on the committees,’’ Chiyangwa said.
Mamelodi also lauded the working relationship between Mashingaidze and Chiyangwa stressing that the success of an executive committee normally hinged on the cohesion between its president and the secretary-general.
“The GS (General Secretary) must work closely with the president for the board to succeed. Of course the GS must not just work closely with the president to the exclusion of the rest of the executive committee.
“The executive committee makes decisions and the general secretary implements them but it is not the duty of the board to try and micro-manage the office and if a board no longer makes decisions, it is a sign that the wheels have fallen off.
“I am glad that president Chiyangwa has said he has an excellent working relationship with the chief executive because that is what you need in order to have your decisions implemented to the benefit of football,’’ Mamelodi said.
The FIFA official gave an example of the problems currently haunting the Namibia Football Association where the suspension of long-serving secretary-general Barry Rukoro has caused fissures within the executive committee.
According to reports from Windhoek, president of the NFA Frans Mbidi confirmed the “indefinite suspension of Rukoro from all activities and duties at the secretariat effective from February 10.
Rukoro’s suspension, which has reportedly been revoked, was related to gross insubordination and runs until such time that the disciplinary process is completed.
Chiyangwa also said his board would, during their first meeting with the assembly in April, outline the measures they have taken to wipe of the crippling debt which they inherited when they assumed office.
“I have interfaced with SuperSport and as a country we need to be viable for them. They have made a few provisions which if we can improve on them they can pay more.
“There is also a lot of interest provided that the Warriors and the Mighty Warriors win and attract interest and TV viewership have to be viable.
“So like I said a lot will be shared with the councillors in April,’’ Chiyangwa said.