Tedious Manyepo Sports Reporter
ZIFA president Felton Kamambo, who has been battling to contain a domestic storm, was smiling yesterday after being appointed a member of the CAF AFCON organising committee.
He follows in the footsteps of his predecessor, Philip Chiyangwa, who was the vice chairman of the powerful committee when it was under the leadership of Amaju Pinnick, the Nigerian Football Federation boss.
Pinnick was then the CAF first vice president, but was ousted from that powerful post in a boardroom upheaval at the last AFCON finals in Egypt, which led to FIFA seconding secretary-general Fatima Samoura to work with the CAF leadership.
Cuthbert Dube, whose mandate as ZIFA boss ended in shame after his authority was revoked by the councillors, also had a stint as a member of the FIFA Confederation Cup organising committee.
Kamambo’s appointment comes just days after the Harare business executive was also advised he would not be prosecuted on bribery charges emanating from his election to the ZIFA presidency.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police told Kamambo last Friday that the National Prosecuting Authority decided against prosecuting him citing lack of evidence.
The ZRP Commercial Crimes Unit have been investigating the case after a complaint and affidavit filed by Kamambo’s former election agent, Robert Matoka.
The duo fell out after the elections, and Matoka claimed Kamambo could have used unorthodox means, including bribing the electorate, to win the watershed elections.
ZIFA wrote to the ZRP on January 2 asking to be furnished with a progress report on the case which had sucked in their boss.
And, last Friday, the ZRP advised them that the case had been dropped on the advise of the NPA.
“Reference is made to your letter dated 2 January in which your office requested the current position of the above-stated matter (Position of bribery which was reported against ZIFA president Felton Kamambo)
“Be advised that the matter was referred to the National Prosecuting Authority and prosecution was declined due to lack of evidence against the accused person, who is Felton Kamambo.”
The ZIFA president acknowledged this week that there was too much toxicity in domestic football, and the time had come for them to channel their energies towards development of the game. The boardroom fights have pitted the current ZIFA leaders and Chiyangwa amid a litany of allegations which have been flying around since last month.
Kamambo said he was disheartened by what had gone on in his first year in charge and wanted to shift focus towards what he promised he would deliver to the electorate.
The two-year mandate in the CAF AFCON organising committee will see Kamambo, together with 26 other members from different nations, running around to see to it that the next Nations Cup finals proceed smoothly.
The 2021 biannual fiesta will be held in Cameroon, with Kamambo one of the key members in ensuring that its standards are kept at a high level.
ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela described Kamambo’s appointment as a seal of approval from the continental soccer mother body.
“Recognitions of this kind are hard to come by. This appointment is confirmation of how hardworking the ZIFA president Felton Kamambo has been since he came to power in December 2018,” said Gwesela.
“It’s not every day that such a hefty appointment falls on you. It is through hard work, dedication and discipline that someone finds himself in that position. This is not Mickey Mouse stuff.
“Kamambo has proved to be a committed leader and this appointment is quite a huge revelation. As ZIFA, we would like to congratulate him for the appointment. We would like to wish him all the best in his endeavours.
“We know he will deliver and work well to make sure he delivers the mandate perfectly well.”
The Warriors will be aiming to reciprocate the gesture by qualifying for the tournament.
They are second in Group H with four points, two behind leaders Algeria.
Zimbabwe played a goalless draw at home to Botswana before posting an impressive 2-1 victory away to Zambia last November.
They will host Algeria next before facing the same opponents in what will be a crucial duel for Zimbabwe.
Two teams from the group qualify for the finals.