Chiyangwa ‘ready to use contacts to help ZIFA ban get lifted’
Former ZIFA President Phillip Chiyangwa has pledged to use some of his influential contacts to assist the new ZIFA board led by the Acting President Gift Banda to get the international football ban imposed by FIFA owing to government interference lifted.
The prominent business mogul, said this on Thursday afternoon in Harare during a courtesy visit made by Banda who was in the company of his board members Farai Jere and Alois Masepe together with the association’s CEO Xolisani Gwesela.
Chiyangwa’s pledge comes after ZIFA was banned from all football activities by the world football governing body in April and lost all its membership rights with FIFA.
The ban emerged due to a move that was taken by the government arm the Sports and Recreation Commission to suspend the ZIFA president Felton Kamambo and his board including Joseph Mamutse last year.
Owing to the ban Zimbabwe got ruled out of the Africa Cup of Nations 2023 qualifiers that started last month (June).
The Warriors were also booted out of the Chan and COSAFA tournaments and clubs were affected as they remain not permitted to participate in the CAF champions league due to the existing suspension.
However, despite the situation, Chiyangwa a former COSAFA president is promising a glimpse of hope which is likely to see the country’s football get the FIFA recognition once again after close to four months of suspension.
“It is important to ensure that the game is played. Football must be played. When I became the ZIFA president my spirit was to ensure that we play football,” he said.
“Of course, we (leaders) can fight but lets play football,” Chiyangwa emphasised on witnessing the so called beautiful sport (football) making its return in Zimbabwe.
He also added: “It is unfortunate that in the last few years I have left (the ZIFA president’s position) nothing substantial has come out except just fighting.
“Turning to the issue of ZIFA’s suspension, I want to work with them (ZIFA) together with the government to ensure the suspension is lifted and 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 old good days, thats what I promised my brother (Banda). For me being involved in football its now for fun because I’m no longer going to be ZIFA president or president of any football organization.
“I’m enjoying what I’m doing now. I always want to do whatever I do with satisfaction,” Chiyangwa told the media.
As part of his effort to get the ZIFA ban lifted by FIFA and also to maintain its relationship with other football organizations reports revealed Chiyangwa facilitated last week’s meeting between the COSAFA leadership and ZIFA boss Banda held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Moreover, it has also emerged that a meeting between Banda and the CAF leaders has been slated for Morocco next month.
Furthermore, there is a ‘huge possibility’ the acting ZIFA president will also meet with the FIFA hierarchy some time after meeting with CAF leaders though at a date which is yet to be announced.