Northern Region Football League chairman Willard Manyengavana is being tipped to land the Zifa presidency which fell vacant after councillors fired former president Cuthbert Dube and his entire board two weeks ago.
By Brian Nkiwane
Manyengavana has been credited for leading his region with distinction, facilitating sponsorship and cup competitions — something that the other regions have failed to do in years.
Standardsport has it on good authority that an undisclosed number of councillors had a caucus meeting in the capital yesterday to try and come up with a possible Zifa board team which they think will bring life back to Zimbabwe’s football.
From the meeting, a number of names tipped to replace Dube were thrown around and CAPS United boss Farai Jere’s name was among them.
Contacted for comment, Manyengavana said the mandate to choose Dube’s successor lay with the councillors.
“I have not discussed this with anyone. I have no plans to take over as Zifa president. Even my own region has not approached me to take up the post. But from what I have been hearing, I think something is about to happen. If it means it’s going to happen, I will be taking instructions from the councillors who would have seen it fit for me to take over,” Manyengavana said.
He added that the reports linking him to the vacant post had made him weigh his chances.
“I have to sit down and start thinking about it. Call me on Monday, I will be in a position to give you my correct position.”
Speaking to Standardsport, a source within the councillors said there were plans to bring in Manyengavana as president, while Omega Sibanda would be retained as vice-president.
Benard Gwarada’s name was also thrown into the ring and he was tipped to bounce back as the finance man in a bid to save the association from Fifa sanctions where the world football body has stated it will not give Zimbabwe any money unless Zifa produces audited accounts.
“This is the line-up that councillors think will work for them. If anyone comes to compete, then they will have to beat these three,” the source said.
True to their word, on the day the Dube-led board was fired, councillors made it clear that this time around, they would go for a leader from within the council to avoid the challenges they faced during Dube’s tenure.
However, veteran football administrator Chris Sambo said that was not the way to go considering the situation that Zimbabwe is in.
“This structure, considering the situation that we are in, is not ideal. They do not have that capacity to save our football from the mess that Dube left us in. We will be extremely disappointed as some of us were instrumental in making sure that Dube was removed,” Sambo said.
He threw his weight behind Trevor Juul who was beaten by Dube in the last election.
“I think Trevor will be the best candidate going forward.”
Another potential candidate, Jere, was surprised by how people were trying to convince him to take over the Zifa prsidency.
“I have received many calls, but the truth of the matter is that I have not thought about it. What I need to do is sit down with my advisors and see how things unfold, and then I will decide,” Jere said.
He added that he would only take up the challenge if he was assured that the rest of the team would be made up of people who were willing to work for the country.
“Obviously, getting into this mess will need someone to be strong. You will know very well the place that you will be entering. Putting such things in good order will make you a hero and definitely you will leave a legacy,” he said.
Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela confirmed that no candidate had forwarded their papers yet as nomination fees had not been pegged.
According to sources at Zifa, the football mother body electoral committee pegged nominations fees for the presidency at $2 500, vice-presidency at $2 000, with those vying for board member posts set to part with $1 500.
The Sports and Recreation Commission reportedly came up with other figures where presidential candidates had to pay $3 500, vice-presidents $3 000, while board members were expected to pay $2 500.
The application form is going for $50. Nomination fees will be finalised and released next week.