By Eddie Chikamhi
Retired footballers believe it’s time for them to have a bigger say, in the administration of the domestic game, and they should unite for that cause.
This follows the move by former Warriors forward, Alois Bunjira, to declare his interests in the battle for the ZIFA presidency in 2022.
“I am always in support of former footballers taking up the challenge in developing the game,’’ said former Dynamos defender, Chamu Musanhu, who is now a player agent.
‘‘Remember, last time I raised the name of Peter Ndlovu and to me he remains the best candidate for ZIFA presidency if he likes to take it up. I have no problem with Alois (Bunjira) throwing his name in the ring as well. He has been a footballer and he has the background experience. There are many tried-and-tested people, like Desmond Maringwa, as well.
“But my advice is that it is always not easy to get those positions. Former footballers need to work together and come up with their choice of candidates for different roles.
“It doesn’t mean everyone has to be the president. There are positions in the grassroots and scouting that needs the expertise of former footballers.’’
Former Gunners and Buymore striker Moore Moyo, who is now a football pundit on the Zimpapers Television Network, said Bunjira should start some serious ground work.
“We need to have more former players in positions of leadership so that the game gets good representation,’’ said Moyo.
“But, they should first understand the ZIFA constitution and make sure they meet all the requirements.
“Secondly, it is not always given that if you have played football then you make a good football administrator. So, Alois, should make every effort to sell his ideas, his plans and vision for Zimbabwean football.
“But he should be very careful whatever he does on the ground. We have seen in the past that the moment someone declares his interests problems, that include court cases, arise and several other allegations are thrown in his or her way.
“So, my advice is that he should try and keep a low profile, let his public relations and marketing teams do all the work. Any mistake will be used to hammer him by those who may want to stay in power or those fighting for the same position.’’
UK-based former CAPS United winger, Raymond Undi, said he was in full support of Bunjira. ‘‘If he gets the support, I think this will be one of the best decisions by former players. He is someone who understands the game from an early age and played right to the top.
“His involvement with junior football also says a lot about his passion to see the game being grown right from the bottom, like what it used to be in the past when we produced great players.
“It will be quite refreshing. We have tried it in the past with business people and politicians and we always got disappointments. So it’s good to have new faces, especially those with a strong football background and an understanding of modern football administration,” said Undi.
Bunjira’s former teammate Stewart “Shutto” Murisa said it was a bold decision since many ex-footballers have shown no interest in high-level administration.
Some, like Benjani Mwaruwari, have tried their hand in the past ZIFA elections and got frustrated.
“It is, indeed, a bold step and I think it’s long overdue. I will always support him,’’ said Murisa.
“He has been there as a player and knows exactly what is expected and is needed to get it right.’’
Another former Zimbabwe international, Gilbert Mushangazhike, said it’s something worth trying for. “All l can say is give him his chance. He played and he understands football. Maybe, he can bring something new to the morden way of running football,” said Mushangazhike.
Former Highlanders player Abraham Mbaiwa shared the same sentiments.
“It’s about time a former player who is young and energetic takes the baton to run ZIFA. Good luck Alois, maybe, you can score mega deals in the administration side like you used to do in the field of play and revive the missing soccer thrills,” said Mbaiwa.
However, UK-based Zimbabwean coach Phillip Zulu feels Bunjira is not the right person to lead domestic football.
“The trouble with Bunjira is that he only sees everything around Chitungwiza and I totally disagree with his football views,’’ said Zulu.
“His history of football is only about the players he played with at Darryn T and they’re the ‘best ever’ in the Zimbabwean history. His choice of coaches will be the same, the players etc.
“To be honest, the best candidate is Desmond Maringwa, without any doubt, he has done some excellent work and has matured above Dynamos and Mbareism, which is what afflicts Bunjira.’’
UK-based Zimbabwean scout Dyson “Jomo” Dzapasi sang a different tune.
‘’He is doing great service to football through development efforts, so Iet’s support such people who are straightforward and honest. I am ready to serve in his campaign team,” said Dzapasi.
Australia-based Zimbabwean football commentator and coach Bernard Muchemwa said Bunjira needed to take a lesser role before jumping into the hot seat. The Herald