COSAFA honours Chiyangwa CAF president Patrice Motsepe (left) and COSAFA president Artur Almeida e Silva (right) hand over the COSAFA Honorary status award to former ZIFA president Phillip Chiyangwa (centre) during the 2023 COSAFA annual general meeting at Sandton Sun in Johannesburg yesterday. — Picture: ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Eddie Chikamhi-Senior Sports Reporter

FORMER ZIFA president Phillip Chiyangwa may have walked away from the active administration of the game for just over a year but the Harare property mogul continues to get recognition across the borders for his contributions in regional football after he was named honourary president of COSAFA yesterday.

Chiyangwa, who was the COSAFA president for five years, was honoured at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting at Sandton Sun in Johannesburg yesterday.

The organisation also recognised some of the illustrious administrators that included another ex-COSAFA president Sekutu Patel, the indefatigable Ashford Mamelodi of Botswana, Salemane Phafane from Lesotho and Adam Mthethwa from Eswatini.

The honourary awards were bestowed by CAF president Patrice Motsepe and COSAFA president Artur Almeida e Silva.

Chiyangwa, who also served as COSAFA president during one of the most tumultuous times of the Civid-19 pandemic, has been credited for his role in the revolution of African football which led to the end of the long grip to power by Cameroonian Issa Hayatou, which had stretched from 1988 and 2017.

“I want to thank you very much for having remembered that I stood as a leader to see revolution in African football,” said Chiyangwa in his acceptance speech.

“I am very happy that COSAFA has continued to be a shining example of African football. Mr Artur (Almeida e Silva, the current COSAFA president) you have had a good show because I am here today, side by side with you. As a son of Africa, Zimbabwe included, I also want to see football being played in my country,” said Chiyangwa

Chiyangwa, who led ZIFA for two years from December 2016, was elected to the helm of the 14-nation bloc in December the same year, and his five-year tenure ended in 2022

He guided COSAFA as they rode through the Covid-19 storm and announced he would not run for another term towards the last AGM which brought in Angolan Almeida e Silva unopposed.

On his departure last year, Chiyangwa told The Herald he was done with football administration and would now concentrate on his political engagements, including leading the fund-raising drive for Zanu PF, ahead of the 2023 polls.

COSAFA held a successful Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Johannesburg yesterday, where CAF president Motsepe addressed delegates and shared his vision for the future.

The AGM confirmed that COSAFA is in a strong financial position as they look forward to hosting seven tournaments in 2023, while also continuing with the numerous legacy programmes which leave behind expert knowledge and skills wherever these events are held.

Motsepe praised the work that is being done in the COSAFA region to improve the game but urged more partnership between governments and football associations in Southern Africa to invest in football.

“I will never accept, and I am from a nation that is represented here, that the ambition is not (to win the Africa Cup of Nations). Every leader in every COSAFA nation should have that clear objective and goal. I know the enormous talent (in the region),” Motsepe said.

“The best way to market football in COSAFA is for the teams to be successful. A big football country is one that wins African competitions.

“We must tell the political leadership in the country that they should support football, and they should be proud also. There are times when we must talk nicely and make plans, but there are also times where we need to implement and get results.”

COSAFA president Almeida e Silva revealed COSAFA have signed an agreement with CAF to introduce the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system in the region.

“The key for our growth in African football is to train our people and we need to focus on this. We have signed an agreement with CAF to implement VAR and we are most excited about this,” Artur said.

“We must grow our office and COSAFA as an organisation, and we have started that process. At the right time we will announce these appointments.”

On the commercial side, a new title sponsorship by HOLLYWOODBETS of the flagship COSAFA Cup competition that will be held in Durban from July 5-16, as well as the upcoming 2023 COSAFA Women’s Championship and 2023 COSAFA Women’s Champions League, was announced.

The new deal continues the relationship between COSAFA and HOLLYWOODBETS that has proven fruitful for both parties in the last few years.

Zimbabwe, however, will not be part of the COSAFA tournaments because of the FIFA suspension. The COSAFA president announced a second partnership with JOMA SA, who have come on board as a technical supplier, a first for COSAFA.

They will be known as the official technical supplier to COSAFA for all its competitions. COSAFA will also be the exclusive distributor of JOMA SA football products in the South African region, excluding Mauritius.

The South African Football Association presented their bid to delegates for the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup, while the Botswana Football Association presented their bid for the 2027 Africa Cup of nations finals.

“With the unanimous approval of all member associations present today, COSAFA officially endorses the Botswana 2027 AFCON bid, as well as South Africa’s bid for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2027,” Artur said.

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