By Ricky Zililo
Premier Soccer League (PSL) chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele has refuted claims by Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa that he was fomenting division between the topflight league and the national association.
In a letter addressed to Dynamos chairman Kenny Mubaiwa, whom Chiyangwa has handpicked as the PSL acting chairman, the Zifa president ordered Mubaiwa to “probe” Ndebele’s conduct.
“You are required to interview and compile a report on the conduct of one Kenny Ndebele, particularly the manner he has fostered and sponsored the breakdown of relationships between Zifa and PSL members in violation of the Zifa constitution. You are therefore required to produce a report of his responses, in his presence before the Zifa president at 2pm on the 16th of December,” Chiyangwa’s letter reads.
However, Ndebele yesterday rubbished Chiyangwa’s assertion, saying it was unfortunate that Zifa is seeking scapegoats for its perennial problems.
Ndebele said his record shows that he had served the two organisations with humility, honour and dignity.
Ndebele, one of the best football administrators this country has produced, said Chiyangwa needs not look further than a close confidante of his within the Zifa board for answers to the mess football is mired in.
He said Chiyangwa’s confidante was settling old scores.
“I’m not responsible for fomenting divisions between Zifa and the PSL, and these accusations are unfair and unfounded. Actually, I’m not surprised by these allegations because I saw them coming. I was informed that someone within Zifa (executive committee) is trying to settle old scores which date back to 2003/2004,” Ndebele said.
Ndebele was Highlanders secretary in 2003 before becoming the club’s chairman in 2004.
“The reason I accepted a request by Chiyangwa to work under Nafaz is that I wanted to foster unity and assist Zimbabwe football in coming up with progressive policies and programmes. It’s a pity the project didn’t last long. I’ve been in topflight football for the past 16 years and have worked with amazing football leaders such as Leo Mugabe, Vincent Pamire, Phillip Mugadza, Seth Chigogora, Tapiwa Matangaidze as well as Cuthbert Dube and I learnt a lot from these men,” Ndebele said.
His response could validate Chiyangwa’s remarks when he reportedly launched a scathing attack on Zifa Southern Region councillors, including his deputy Omega Sibanda and suspended PSL and Highlanders chairman Peter Dube, accusing them of causing problems in his administration at the chaotic Zifa congress held in October.
It was at that congress that relations between Zifa and PSL soured, as some councillors reneged on a 2015 resolution to drop two teams from the topflight and promote two.
The 2015 congress had agreed that the PSL would stage promotional play-offs involving winners of Zifa’s four regional leagues to determine the two teams to take up the PSL slots for the 2017 season, only for the Zifa councillors to push for the promotion of four teams and relegation of the same number at the 11th hour.
After the PSL resisted the Zifa manoeuvre, the national association again flip-flopped and is now demanding that two teams be relegated and four promoted, in violation of the resolution controversially adopted in October.
The PSL has approached the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland and believe CAS could be the only “impartial arbitrator” in their dispute with the chaos prone Zifa.
Chiyangwa also hinted on the looming suspension of Ndebele in his letter to Mubaiwa and also laid bare Zifa’s plans to take over control the PSL by informing the Dynamos chairman that he couldn’t do anything without Zifa approval.
Chiyangwa told Mubaiwa to seek the approval of Zifa before negotiating or signing any league sponsorship deal and gave him until today to compile a report on Ndebele after which he would meet the two, with Ndebele being put to his defence.
Chiyangwa has also ordered a forensic audit on the PSL dating back to 2009.
Mubaiwa has not publicly indicated whether he accepts the “appointment” thereby breaking ranks with the PSL board of governors’ stance.
Ndebele said: “I’m employed by the PSL in terms of Article 47 of the PSL constitution under an agreement governed by private law. My responsibilities include implementing decisions of the board of governors and its various subcommittees. There’s nothing to hide at the league because we have audited financial records.”
Ndebele’s contract with the PSL expires at the end of this month.
“I’m prepared to step down from the PSL, provided it’s the decision of the 16 PSL clubs,” Ndebele said. Chronicle