Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
ZIFA president Felton Kamambo yesterday made sensational claims, accusing his predecessor Philip Chiyangwa of allegedly being part of a cartel that caused mayhem that stalked the Warriors’ 2019 AFCON finals campaign.
The association’s emergency committee held a review meeting yesterday where they resolved they would try to recall Chiyangwa from his post as COSAFA president as the fallout between the two parties deepen.
Kamambo accused Chiyangwa of working with his former deputy Omega Sibanda, board member Chamu Chiwanza and journalist Hope Chizuzu to destabilise the Warriors’ ship.
The ZIFA president also announced the suspension of Chiwanza on various allegations relating to his nomination for the post he holds at the association and for his alleged role in the recent AFCON debacle.
Chiyangwa reacted furiously to the developments last night and said he wasn’t just dismissing all the allegations laid against him, ‘‘with the contempt they deserve, but I will also hold a Press conference to answer every charge that has been laid against me.’’
Kamambo conceded that their biggest challenge, at the AFCON finals, was dealing with demands from the players and said while they had contracts with the Warriors, the players ended up having their heads turned, and focus distracted, by people who were deliberately giving them false information.
The crisis, the ZIFA boss said, started when a number of people, notably Chizuzu, began calling the players telling them they were being paid less than what they deserved while the association was spending a fortune on flying councillors and fans to Egypt.
The players were also told, according to Kamambo, that those who were being flown to Egypt were being paid huge amounts of allowances when, in reality, none of them pocketed the money.
“In fact, I want to bear with the players. I feel for them as well because you are in camp and someone is phoning you and giving you information that the supporters that are coming to Egypt are being paid US$400 per day when you have been paid US$1 500 to participate in the whole tournament,’’ said Kamambo.
“Yes, US$1 500.
‘‘That is what we had agreed then the other amount was going to be paid as and when but because of the third forces coming into the camp, the likes of Hope Chizuzu, the former president Philip Chiyangwa, board member Chamu Chiwanza, that acted as a catalyst to cause confusion in the camp.
“The Executive Committee was not amused by the chaos that surrounded the Warriors camp at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals, and will institute an adhoc committee to probe several issues that characterised the team’s stay in Egypt.
‘‘This is in line with Section 51 of the ZIFA constitution.
“ZIFA has evidence of infiltration of the Warriors camp by a group of vengeful individuals bent on undoing the great work done by the current executive.
‘‘FIFA, CAF and COSAFA have been notified for possible corrective action, so that they are barred from football corridors.’’
The ZIFA president believes his board was being attacked by his predecessors who want to see his downfall.
“Attacks on the reputation of ZIFA are by vengeful elements who wanted but failed to monopolise corridors of football administration and their cohorts. The emergency Committee has also taken a decision to recall Philip Chiyangwa from his position as COSAFA president. The Emergency Committee has resolved to suspend Executive Committee Member Chamunorwa Chiwanza.
‘‘Mr Chiwanza is accused of electoral fraud, threatening a
member of the ZIFA congress, destabilising Warriors Afcon camp among a host of charges.
“Mr Chiwanza’s suspension would be ratified by the next full board meeting in line with article 40.3 of the ZIFA constitution,” said Kamambo.
ZIFA are also expected to respond to the Sports Commission by end of day today after they were asked to explain issues related to the AFCON show.
‘‘We are studying the letter meticulously and we will respond at the appropriate time. We have also notified FIFA of this correspondence.”
Chiyangwa said the allegations against him were unfortunate.
‘‘For the avoidance of doubt, let me make it clear that I don’t have any interest in being ZIFA president or any post in that association and, therefore, I have no reason to be fighting anyone because I am above that level now,’’ he said.
‘‘I did what I did during my time, I had my success stories and it was God’s plan and I walked away with grace, unscathed but some people now want to punish me with allegations that are unfounded.
‘‘I won’t lose sleep over this, my first assignment as ZIFA president was to secure the future of these players by paying off that (Tom) Saintfiet debt so that the boys could play at the World Cup again and I can’t be seen to be destabilising the same team I worked hard to give them a chance to shine on the big stage.
‘‘I will respond accordingly but I to say that I am very disappointed with what ZIFA are claiming.’’
Kamambo said while they had expected the Warriors to go all the way, which explained why they had booked the team’s return tickets for July 21, two days after the final, they also feel the side’s campaign had some positives.
Coach Sunday Chidzambwa and his technical team have been asked to prepare for the upcoming CHAN assignment while the ZIFA technical committee will review the AFCON show.
The ZIFA boss said there was nothing wrong in taking his family and the councillors to AFCON.
He said his trip was paid for by CAF but opted to use the charter flight with his family for travel convenience.
Kamambo also defended their financial transactions and said allegations they misused funds were unfounded.