Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
FAVOURITE Farai Jere swept into power as the Premier Soccer League chairman when he edged rival Lovemore Matikinyidze in a close contest in Harare yesterday with the new boss pledging to implement what he promised in his manifesto.
The Harare businessman says he will revolutionise the Premiership, during his time in charge of the league, with emphasis being placed on the league acquiring its new home and doing away with renting properties.
He also wants closer ties with the South African Premiership and one of his first moves will be to see those who are in charge of the league across the Limpopo to pick up some vital lessons on how he can change the face of the top-flight league.
Jere, who polled nine votes to Triangle United chairman Matikinyidze’s seven, will be deputised by Chicken Inn’s Lifa Ncube who was unopposed for the vice-chairman’s position.
ZIFA electoral committee chairman Vusiliziwe Vuma, whose committee presided over the poll, said apart from the absence of governors from Herentals and ZPC Kariba, who failed to vote, the election had gone on smoothly.
Herentals and ZPC Kariba representatives arrived late at the meeting, well after the roll-call had been done and voting had taken place.
“We had two absentees, so we had sixteen people voting. There was a two-point gap between the winner and the loser, so it was a tight contest indeed,” said Vuma.
“Everything went smoothly and the polling was free and fair, no complaints and no problems encountered.”
ZIFA chief executive Joseph Mamutse, the association’s communications manager Xolisani Gwesela, reported by a blogger to have rushed to Brazzaville with the Warriors kit, and technical director Wilson Mutekede, were among those who observed the elections.
But the day no doubt belonged to Jere.
The CAPS United majority shareholder had to fight long and hard in an election in which those who opposed him, including some members of the PSL secretariat, claimed he was just a pawn of ZIFA chairman Philip Chiyangwa.
He told the media, soon after his election, that he was going to hit the ground running to implement the vision he has for the PSL.
He insisted that one of the key areas would be to work on ensuring a close working relationship between ZIFA and the league.
“In working together with ZIFA, I have a feeling that we can benefit more, you know we are much stronger if we work together,” said Jere.
“Look at how Philip Chiyangwa (ZIFA president) is rising, we are watching him, we are down there and expecting him to fall by bringing about a lot of negative issues instead of supporting and standing by him.
“Through that there are a lot of things which we can benefit as far as I know him.
“Even in our dream of having a home for PSL, Chiyangwa is going to come in because I have already spoken to him and I know what we want to do so, by working together, we can actually achieve a lot.
“The constitution has always been the one which caused all the strained relations between ZIFA and PSL but that document is made by men so what we are going to do is to make sure that we align it.
“We don’t want a situation where we have unnecessary misunderstandings.”
Jere also maintained that the differences that had emerged, as a result of campaigning between Matinyikinyidze’s camp and his side, were now water under the bridge as football needed to emerge the biggest winner of this election.
“We cannot live in the past, we are forward-looking people and we know the problem with trying to live in the past is you will be unable to implement your programme and time is very important.
“We only have four years to make sure that we implement what is in our manifesto as we are accountable to that and we have to hit the ground running.
“I am naturally happy because this is a better way of winning than going uncontested because, obviously, the PSL governors would have taken what we were offering them, how we are trying to transform the Premier Soccer League.”
Jere said the PSL will work hard to make sure that fans return to the stadiums.
The number of spectators attending football matches have dwindled as the league has been lacking appeal.
“We are coming into the office at a time when there is a lot of hope, in as far as the economic situation (in the country) is concerned.
“We are hoping that people will come and have a lot of entertainment at the stadiums.
“This is an area where we have to sit down and deliberate on how we can make sure that people enjoy coming to the stadiums to watch their beloved teams.”
Jere had the support of giants Highlanders and Dynamos in this poll.