Sports Reporter
ZIFA board member in charge of finance Phillemon Machana has become the first member of the game’s presidium to declare he will battle to retain a place among the leaders of the Association when elections are held in December.

Machana had been expected to step down from his post after indicating he was now planning to focus his energies elsewhere.

However, the Harare businessman told The Herald yesterday that he would again throw his name into the hat when the elections for the ZIFA executive are held in December.

‘’This is to inform you that after some consultations with family, friends and the football community in Zimbabwe l, Phillemon Machana, current ZIFA executive committee member, has decided to put my name in the ring on the position of ZIFA executive committee member,’’ he said in a short statement.

‘’I believe l still have significant contributions to make to our football.’’

Machana has been praised for the way he has handled the ZIFA finances, which were in a mess when he took over the portfolio, and were not being audited during the dark days of the previous leadership.

It meant that the Warriors were even expelled from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, without kicking a ball, after the local football governing body failed to pay former coach Valinhos about $68 000 which he was owed for his services to the national team.

Repeated warnings from FIFA that the Warriors could be kicked out of the World Cup qualifiers were ignored by the previous leadership while $68 000 donated by the Premier Soccer League towards the dissolution of that debt was moved to pay other commitments in controversial fashion.

The financial shambles also meant that FIFA had halted giving ZIFA their annual grant because it’s a requirement by the world football governing body that every national football association should have audited financial statements to qualify for such grants.

The Sports Commission, who have been fighting a spirited battle against the current ZIFA leadership, turned a blind eye to all that, including the Warriors’ expulsion from the World Cup qualifiers for the first time in the history of the tournament.

However, Machana has helped ZIFA to get their finances in order and FIFA have since resumed providing grants to the Association.

Machana is expected to leave for the FIFA Congress in Moscow, Russia, on Saturday in the company of ZIFA vice-president Omega Sibanda and chief executive Joseph Mamutse.

ZIFA boss Philip Chiyangwa is not making the trip on the advice of his surgeons as he continues to recover from recent eye surgery.

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