Former ZIFA president Phillip Chiyangwa has pledged to work with the current football leadership to speed up the engagement processes between the local stakeholders and FIFA for a quick solution to Zimbabwe’s banishment from international football.
Chiyangwa, who recently quit football after opting against re-election as COSAFA president to concentrate on other commitments, said he was glad to assist the re-engagement processes after receiving ZIFA’s interim president Gift Banda and board members Alois Masepe and Farai Jere at his offices yesterday.
The Harare property mogul said he will make use of his contacts to try and to set up a meeting between the domestic football leadership and the FIFA president, Gianni Infantino.
ZIFA were suspended by FIFA in April after the international football organisation had ruled that the suspension of the bungling ZIFA board by the Sports and Recreation Commission constituted third party interference.
Chiyangwa said was humbled after Banda and two of his board members made the courtesy call.
“It’s important to ensure that the game is played. Of course, people may hear noise here and there but football must be the winner.
“When I became ZIFA president, my spirit was to ensure that we play football. Of course, we can fight but let’s play football. Unfortunately, in the last few years after I had left, it was just fighting, with nothing substantial coming out.
“And, turning to the issue of the FIFA suspension, that’s what I want to work with them (ZIFA) and the Government and ensure that the suspension is lifted and that football is played.
“I would want to be able to walk into a stadium, watch football and enjoy myself. I would want to see Zimbabwean teams participating and winning trophies, like we used to do during my days at ZIFA. We want to go back to the good old days.
“That’s what I promised my brother (Banda) here. For me (being involved with football) it’s now for fun because I am no longer going to be ZIFA president or president of any football organisation. I am enjoying what I am doing now. I always want to do whatever I do with satisfaction.
“When I was ZIFA president I won trophies and at COSAFA, I bet no president has performed like me. What we all want now is to restore our own Zimbabwean football on the international stage, hoping FIFA opens up and we play football. That’s why I am assisting so that the process yields results,” said Chiyangwa.
To show his commitment, Chiyangwa engineered the recent meeting between the ZIFA interim president Banda and the new COSAFA president Artur De Almeida in South Africa, where Banda took the opportunity to explain Zimbabwe’s position and solicit for support.
ZIFA are currently under FIFA suspension and the authorities have been putting in place structures and systems to rid the game of the corruption that had tainted the Felton Kamambo leadership before they were booted out by the Sports Commission. FIFA have set stringent conditions for reinstatement, which included the restoration of the ZIFA executive committee. The board has since been reinstated following the Extraordinary General Meeting that resulted in the revocation of Kamambo’s mandate along with board members Philemon Machana and Bryton Malandule.
Banda was elevated to the position of acting president at that indaba. Although FIFA are still to make their next move, Chiyangwa sounded confident that a solution will be found soon.