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Chagonda to bring depth to Zifa

By Isdore Guvamombe

The biggest dilemma of the beautiful game of football in Zimbabwe over the years has been its pedigree to attract mediocrity, recycle the same deadwood and bring aboard leaders who have, at times, never kicked even a stationary ball.

MAN ON A MISSION . . . Sugar Chagonda (right) poses for a photo with Isdore Guvamombe during a tour of the Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid, Spain, last year
MAN ON A MISSION . . . Sugar Chagonda (right) poses for a photo with Isdore Guvamombe during a tour of the Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid, Spain, last year

Leaders who go into power to make money and not to have the capacity to improve the beautiful game.

Cry our beloved football!

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I normally don’t write sports, but as village elders aptly put it, an owl does not fly during the day for nothing, when you see it flying, something is after its life.

The ZIFA elections slated for Harare this Sunday bring me down from the terraces and make me plunge into the foggy waters of my country’s football leadership.

One character in particular — the grey-haired Sugar Chagonda — has attracted my attention. He is not vying for the top post, despite having the credentials to challenge for the apex.

He is starting from the ordinary echelons of power, contesting as a mere board member and his attitude, of course, with advice from the ageless village autochthon of wisdom and knowledge (Karitundundu) is to grow his leadership from the bottom to the top of ZIFA, albeit the fact that most leaders just want to start from the top.

Chagonda whose cotton-tuft hair speaks beyond his tender age, will certainly bring freshness, innovativeness, vibrancy and depth of character to football.

He is no ordinary character. No! He is soccer mad. He still plays football. He runs football teams in the social leagues. He has a media background in print and broadcasting, and a strong corporate face having been at the helm as the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority’s Corporate Communications Manager for many years.

He is currently the Corporate Communications Affairs Manager of the Zimbabwe Diamond Mining Company and secretary-general of Manica Diamond team.

By the way Manica Diamond, gained promotion into the PSL without a loss from Division One, courtesy of Chagonda’s leadership.

In an era where football thrives on media rights, corporate sponsorship, endorsements and security, Chagonda becomes handy.

I have trudged the length and breadth of the world with Chagonda, notably Germany, Brazil, United Kingdom, United States of America, Spain, Colombia, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Russia etc.

We have been to many African countries, too. In each country Chagonda made it a point for us to watch football matches, each time asking me how best we could improve the game in our country. I love the other game I shall not mention but his game is football.

One such place I visited with Chagonda several times was Madrid, Spain. We went into the cauldron of football and watched matches like the El Classico, paying our own expensive tickets there because he loves football. We met many football gurus, business executives, government ministers and national Presidents.

Chagonda is very much linked, I tell you. He will bring the sort of knowledge and links our football desperately needs.

My first visit to Spain with him in Madrid, was dramatic. We wanted to watch El Classico and the tickets were going for more than 300 Euros and I refused to pay.

I insisted I could buy a cow back in my village in the land of milk honey and dust, Guruve but Chagonda could not hear of it.

He so loved football that he paid three quarters of the price for me. He literary dragged me to the Santiago Bernabeu and we watched the match.

It became routine for the six times we went back to Madrid.

At some stage he forced me to pay a 20 Euros entry fee to tour an empty Bernabeu because he wanted to see their infrastructure.

I refused and chugged my coke, again and again in disgust. I thought I could save the money and buy a goat back in the village. Chagonda paid for me. He wanted me to see value in football infrastructure.

There we were in an empty stadium, seeing the infrastructure. We took selfies and he took some notes.

His dream has been to transform football in Zimbabwe. He went into the shops and restaurants under the stadium and he was quick to think we could do something about our on national sports stadium in Harare.

In Brazil in 2009 we spent days chasing after the football leaders Chagonda had convinced his boss, — the maverick Karikoga Kaseke — to bring Brazil to Zimbabwe.

To me it was an impish attempt to paint the air. Brazil in Zimbabwe? But as Chagonda was to prove me wrong indeed ZTA brought the Samba Boys to Harare.

Honestly, who in the village imagined Kaka playing at the National Sports Stadium? Chagonda has great ideas and vision.

Later he was to bring the Barcelona legends to Harare. But by this time, I had confidence in him. I am confident he will bring depth to ZIFA.

But my masterpiece cannot end without mentioning his educational qualifications.

Chagonda is currently studying towards a Doctorate with Binary University in Malaysia, working in conjunction with Chinhoyi University of Science and Technology.

He holds a Masters Degree in Public Policy and Governance from Africa University and a Social Science Degree from University of Zimbabwe.

Chagonda has several diplomas in International Relations, Public Administration, Journalism, Public Relations and Diplomacy.

I fail to get the correct diction for his football craving and the depth he can bring to football administration in Zimbabwe . . . To my Ancestors be the Glory! The Herald