Chivayo Bounces Back

chivayoEddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
HARARE businessman Wicknell Chivayo bounced back into the trenches of domestic football yesterday after reversing his decision to pull the plug on funding ZIFA activities and the Warriors saying he had been advised by the First Lady, Amai Grace Mugabe, to always be guided by national interests instead of emotions.

Chivayo said his change of heart followed a reprimand he received from Amai Mugabe when he sat down for a meal with the First Lady and her son Robert Mugabe (Junior) in Dubai last week, where they discussed his decision to stop funding ZIFA activities following a spectacular fallout with some sections of the media.

Watch the video clip below…

The youthful businessman, who has so far injected about $600 000 in the financial package he pledged to ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa, as part of efforts to support the property tycoon to stabilise the bankrupt association, immediately paid Warriors’ coach Callisto Pasuwa his outstanding three-month salary, valued at $21 000, and also paid Mighty Warriors coach Shadreck Mlauzi and his team $9 000 after they qualified for the Women African Nations Cup finals.

Chivayo addressed a media conference in Harare yesterday, in the company of Chiyangwa and Mlauzi, and said the turning point was when the First Lady told him that he should always be driven by national interests and not blown off course by criticism.

“I was reprimanded by the First Lady who told me that if the President (Mugabe) or all the liberation struggle heroes had thrown tantrums and given up after being criticised and attacked by the whites we wouldn’t have attained independence,” said Chivayo.

“When I spoke to the First Lady she said when you are executing national duty you must expect criticism, you must expect the attacks because there are opposition forces that don’t want development.

“So I am supposed to be exemplary and show the nation that I am a patriotic citizen. No hard feelings, like I said to Mr Chiyangwa. Definitely everything that was promised to the Warriors if they qualify (for AFCON), they will get $250 000.

“I am saying that is over. Now we are moving forward. That is why I brought this money for Pasuwa. We are moving forward, we are not going back. Let’s not retrogress and say what if? What if? What if? I am going to deliver as I have always delivered.

“The only issue that arose was that when I and Dr Chiyangwa were getting along and solving things as he requested, there was a report saying I failed to pay Pasuwa. When somebody says I failed to pay $7 000 I feel very disrespected. That’s why I was disappointed.

“I want to make it clear that we have settled our differences, the pressure that was arising from the newspaper articles. It’s very important to acknowledge that I was doing this for the national cause and to support the game sincerely as a successful businessman,” said Chivayo, who revealed he had put Pasuwa’s one year’s salary in an escrow account and will be credited directly to his BancABC account every month.

“We will continue the way we were. I get instructions from Dr Chiyangwa and I don’t communicate with ZIFA. I have no relationship with them. So nobody must attack me if ZIFA have failed to pay the coach.”

He said he had buried the events of the past two weeks and has no hard feelings with the media, which took him to task following a social media war which erupted with some journalists.

“I was in England on holiday. I wasn’t even reading the newspapers. I just heard, I wasn’t even worried about what they were saying and I have nothing against anybody,” said Chivayo.

Chivayo said he has demonstrated his commitment to the national football cause by unveiling about $600 000 in the past four months, and with more set to be used for the Warriors’ AFCON qualifiers against Malawi and Guinea, the businessman said the $1 million he pledged to give Chiyangwa, which was meant to be spread over three years with regular cash injections, would be exhausted.

Chiyangwa confirmed that the initial $1 million package from Chivayo had virtually been exhausted and the ZIFA president said he would approach his sponsor to see if he could avail more funds to help oil various football programmes.

The property guru said there was a misconception that Chivayo was a ZIFA sponsor when, in fact, the youthful businessman was his partner who was only helping the game because he committed himself to ensure that Chiyangwa’s tenure as the country’s football leader would not be crippled by financial challenges.

Chiyangwa said his relationship with Chivayo had brought normalcy to football as they have not encountered the extent of the usual financial problems that characterised the Warriors and Mighty Warriors camps in the past.

“Things have happened very well because of this gentleman and I owe it to him for the period that I have been in office, that I have been so successful. We have had so much money coming through, sometimes too much to really put a particular way of saying thank you for giving me this support.

“And I know the past two weeks or so have not been too good but I must say I have been helped by him to be coming back saying look, let’s continue. It’s all because he met the First Lady in Dubai and she told him that you should continue.

“That’s why some people are misinterpreting the pictures that have been coming out (on the social media). It was a meeting to normalise my relationship that had gone awry because of the articles that had appeared in the newspapers.

“By not commenting I’m not a fool, I know where my bread is buttered. So I never said a thing about it because I knew that it would cause much more damage with my brother Wicknell.

“I come a long way with Wicknell. His life is like a piece of newspaper I read every day. It is one where I start with him in the 1990s when he was a young man and see him through (to where he is right now),” said Chiyangwa.

The ZIFA boss said while he was also negotiating with other corporates to come on board, he should not let someone like Chivayo, who has done so much for the game in a short space of time, including paying the debt to ensure that Zimbabwe remained in the 2022 World Cup, walk away just like that.

“Some people say he was jailed before, so what, I was also in remand prison before, ndaipfeka makhakhi, but here I am as the leader of ZIFA and here he is as my partner,” said Chiyangwa.

“To those who don’t like Chivayo, I say go ahead and bring your partner or sponsor here, there is no durawall at my offices, and show me the ones whom you say are the good sponsors and we will also consider them.

“But you just can’t shout saying we don’t want Wicknell when you can’t give me an alternative and I am happy with Wicknell because he was there when our 2022 World Cup was in danger, and he delivered, and he is here today and still delivering.

“Why do you want to mess up my relationship with him? Times are hard now, you can’t even withdraw more than $2 000 cash from the bank but he is here and giving us $30 000 for the coaches.”

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