INCUMBENT ZIFA vice president Omega Sibanda was in bullish mood yesterday as the euphoria around the elections to choose a new executive committee heightened ahead of the association’s pools in Harare on Sunday. Sibanda, along with his boss Philip Chiyangwa and board member finance Philemon Machana, will need to shake off their challengers and secure a full term to administer the country’s biggest sport.
The trio were part of a board that swept into power in December 2015 following the revocation by the ZIFA congress of the Cuthbert Dube leadership.
Sibanda, Chiyangwa and Machana have remained the three standing pillars from the 2015 class of the directly elected executive committee members.
Of that crew, former Zimbabwe international Edzai Kasinauyo had been suspended months before he passed away on June 15 last year, while the pair of Felton Kamambo and Piraishe Mabhena resigned in March after the duo joined a cabal that was accused of trying to sabotage the administration of the game and make football ungovernable in the country.
Sibanda, speaking after taking his campaign trail to the Eastern Region where he met with councillors in Mutare, expressed optimism that the Congress would look into the work they have done for football in the short space they have been in charge and hand them a fresh and full term.
He noted that their achievements in a difficult operating environment and after adopting an association that had literally bled to death was the testimony of their pedigree and believes that with continuity, the game could only grow stronger.
At Sunday’s polls, Sibanda will face the challenge of Gift Banda, while Kamambo has returned to tackle Chiyangwa. Machana is vying for one of the four slots of board members in a race that also includes Sugar Chagonda, Stanley Chapeta, Chamu Chiwanza, Brighton Malandule and Mlungisi Moyo. But for Sibanda, his clarion call to the electorate was that they needed to look beyond smear campaigns and analyse the work that has been done in restoring stability at ZIFA, which he said has been matched by the success stories on the pitch by the Warriors, Mighty Warriors and the resurgence of the Young Warriors as well as various capacity-building workshops undertaken by the administrators and coaches.
“Action speaks louder than words. Our works are there for everyone to see and it’s all done through the book which is our constitution. We don’t use emotions or grandstanding gimmicks that is a fact which I am certain our noble congressman and women are fully aware of,” said Sibanda. “Continuity is the best cure, remember we are finishing Cuthbert Dube’s term so we did not express ourselves in the way we wanted to in these two years. We managed to achieve a lot of positives in those two years. When we came into office ZIFA had a seven million dollar debt which we have cleared. We had serious challenges, the Messenger of Court was always on the door step.
We had properties which were already attached and ready to be sold, all our accounts were garnished and there was no Zifa to talk about.’’ Sibanda also heads the Technical and development committee and during his tenure as chairman of that sub-committee, a number of CAF and ZIFA courses have taken place in all provinces in the country. The ZIFA vice-president also clarified on “the often misconstrued perception that the executive committee breached the constitution by taking decisions in between congress’’.
He said the executive has despite meeting the objectives of the association, also fully exercised their powers as enshrined in Article 34 of the amended ZIFA Constitution which read as; “The Executive committee shall pass decisions on all cases that do not come within the sphere of responsibility of the congress or are not reserved for other bodies by law or under these (ZIFA) statutes, shall prepare and convene the ordinary and extraordinary congress, shall appoint chairmen, deputy chairmen and members of the standing committees, shall appoint chairmen, deputy chairmen and members of the judiciary bodies, shall appoint the chairman, deputy chairmen and members of the electoral committee.
May set up ad-hoc committee if necessary at any time, shall compile the regulations for the organisation of standing committee and ad-hoc committee, shall appoint or dismiss the General Secretary on the proposal of the president.
“The General Secretary shall attend the meeting of all the committees ex officio, the he article also says the executive shall propose the independent auditors to the Congress, shall decide the place and date of and the number of teams participating in competitions of ZIFA, shall appoint the coaches for the representative teams and other technical staff, shall approve regulations stipulating how ZiIFA shall be organised internally, shall ensure that the statutes are applied and adopt the executive arrangements required for their application’’.
Sibanda also pointed to the success of the mainstream national teams in regional tournaments. “We have also held COSAFA tournaments, successfully so for that matter and all our representative national teams from the juniors up to the senior squads are participating in various competitions include Naph and Nash teams,” said Sibanda.
“The finance committee headed by Machana has been able to provide audited financial statements to the congressman and women annually and as we speak those accounts have been given to the delegates who will attend this weekend’s Indaba as per the requirements of the constitution.’’.
So confident is Sibanda about the incumbents being retained that he revealed that Chiyangwa would roll out a number of programs that would take effect from January next year.
“The president will in his speech unveil a full package of what the delegates are rightfully supposed to and will get, not just free entry into football matches but we want them capacitated through such programmes like FIFA diploma and masters courses, which are lifelong but all these packages will be unveiled by the president,” said Sibanda. The ZIFA vice-president reiterated the good working relationship they have struck with the Premier Soccer League and said the association fully supported the need to align the PSL season in line with CAF requirements.