Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
TWINE PHIRI is out of the race for the Premier Soccer League chairmanship, exactly six years after he landed the post, with Dynamos president Kenny Mubaiwa and Highlanders chairman Peter Dube set to battle for the leadership of the top-flight league. The DeMbare and Bosso leaders filed their nomination papers with the ZIFA Electoral Committee yesterday, which was also the deadline for nominations. Elections for the PSL chairman, ZIFA Eastern and Central Region chairman, Beach Soccer leader and chairman of Masvingo Province, will be held on March 5.
Elections for the Women Soccer chairperson have since been called off by ZIFA.
The PSL chairmanship post fell vacant after Phiri, who has been in charge of the league since 2010, before being elected again in 2014, lost his mandate to lead the top-flight league when the ZIFA Assembly revoked the mandate of the entire board led by Cuthbert Dube in October last year.
Phiri also lost his presidency at CAPS United when he ceased to be the majority shareholder at the Green Machine and, with the PSL constitution saying that only the president/chairman of a club can stand for the league’s leadership position, it elbowed him out of the race.
Dube, who has been acting as the PSL leader, yesterday confirmed that he has thrown his name into the ring. “You submit forms after you have been nominated, so I can confirm that I have been nominated and have submitted my papers. I have complied with the requirements and I am now waiting for the verification process and that is all I can say at the moment,” said Dube.
Dube will battle it out with Mubaiwa who contested for the same position in the previous election, but lost heavily to Phiri. The ZIFA Electoral Committee headed by Justice Sello Nare are now expected to sit and verify the candidature of those who have thrown their names into the ring.
A number of candidates were yesterday busy filing in their papers from their respective bases and in the Central Region, Whawha chairperson Musa Ntonga, former league chairman Patrick Hokonya and Stanley Chapeta filed their papers. The post was left vacant when Felton Kamambo won a seat on the ZIFA board.
Meanwhile, ZIFA’s decision to call off elections for the leadership of Women Soccer has been met with mixed feelings by clubs. The club chairpersons feel divisions within women’s soccer will affect the national team’s preparations for Rio Olympic Games in Brazil in August.
“People are fighting, but it is the grass which will suffer. As we speak the Mighty Warriors haven’t started any preparations for the Olympics and next month they have an African Cup of the Nations qualifier but the team hasn’t gone into camp since they played Cameroon when they booked the ticket to Rio in October.
“This leadership vacuum is affecting the national team but our leaders don’t seem to bother as they are busy trying to position themselves for the best seats to Brazil and this is sad,” said one club owner.
Another club director said women’s football has always been about squabbles and some of the administrators seem to thrive on that. “As women we have always been fighting since long back as some councillors feel that those in the positions are now benefiting and the rest of us are not but it is not about individuals but the players.
“We just hope that sanity will quickly prevail. As club owners at times we feel taken for granted as we suffer with these players, trying to finance their activities with the little that we have, and this is not appreciated at the end of the day,” she said.