FORMER CAF media officer Kennedy Makambira has joined the growing list of Zimbabweans who have saluted the elevation of Philip Chiyangwa to the continental body’s executive committee. He has also hailed the appointment of Kirsty Coventry as the new Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation.
Chiyangwa and Coventry were on Friday inducted into key sporting portfolios with the ZIFA and COSAFA president being endorsed by the regional body as their representative on the powerful CAF executive committee at a meeting in Johannesburg.
On the same day, swimming legend Coventry was named by President Mnangagwa as the Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation Minister. Coventry took her oath of office at a swearing-in ceremony at State House yesterday.
Media personality Makambira, now based in Qatar, hailed the arrival of Chiyangwa on the CAF executive committee and Coventry in Government.
“He may not be asked to captain the ‘Humble Eleven’, team let alone make it into the side, but like him or dislike him, Philip Chiyangwa has continued his trailblazing (journey),’’ Makambira said.
“Congratulations to the ZIFA president for this new feather in his cap and it certainly is the biggest one of them so far for not only PC, but the country.
“It is only when you join and sit on the CAF Executive Committee, the highest table of the continental football mother body, that you can begin to make influence and orchestrate significant moves on the chessboard of football.
“With this position one is able to bring about meaningful change.
“For many years Zimbabwe was on the periphery of the heartbeat of African football operations and save for the valiant efforts of among others, former ZIFA President Leo Mugabe, who served on the marketing committee of CAF, Frank Valdemarca and Felix Tangawarima on the CAF Referees’ Committee and Nelson Matongorere as part of the coaching instructors.
“When the big boys of African football, in as far as decision-making sat down, Zimbabwe was missing, but with PC’s ascendency to CAF Ex-co that is no longer the case.
“By so doing as a nation when we are able to draw the continental body’s attention to the talent and expertise we have at home and support it to get to the highest table in the game, then we begin to be influential and have clout.”
Makambira rose to prominence at the Cairo-based organisation where he also became the first Zimbabwean to work full-time at the continental body.
He arrived at the CAF headquarters in Egypt in December 2010 after successfully manning the FIFA media centre at Ellis Park during the World Cup hosted by South Africa.
Makambira, a broadcaster, also covered Coventry during her success stories in the Commonwealth and Olympic Games.
“I join many who extend best wishes to our renowned Olympian Kirsty Coventry. She excelled as an athlete and applied the ethics and put in the work required to succeed at the very top of her sport.
“I have no doubt Kirsty will bring the same perspective, vigour and methodology required to nudge our general outlook and approach to sport in the country in all its aspects from administration to participation towards acceptable and recognised world standards.
“It bodes well that Kirsty comes into her role armed with access and contacts of some of the world’s best and successful sports experts, including fellow Zimbabweans, working throughout the globe.
“Kirsty is chairperson of the IOC Athletes’ Commission and will be able to tap into some of the sport administrators who can assist our sport and perhaps act as much-needed independent evaluators of some of our methods and current approaches to running sport and advise accordingly,” Makambira said.