By Robert Tapfumaneyi
BOSSY businessman and current ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa has boasted Zimbabwean football lived off his personal pocket while urging government to play a role in funding national team engagements.
He was speaking in Harare Tuesday while accepting an Achievement Award by 10 ZIFA provincial chairpersons for his “unwavering support” and “development of football” in the country.
“Everything that you have seen, the Warriors fulfilling their fixtures, it’s either my money or I had to borrow from a friend and so forth,” Chiyangwa said.
“You know for sure that there is no or any financial support which comes from the Zimbabwean government.
“It is only our government which does not give any money to football. All governments in Africa have a budget for national teams.
“Right now as I speak, we are supposed to send the national team to Liberia. We have to fork it (money) out from our own pockets to make it happen.”
Chiyangwa said there were many complaints from rivals and football fans who erroneously felt his executive was milking the cash strapped football mother body.
“When I walked in there, there was nothing at ZIFA and there is still nothing. We make it happen. So you criticise us for our own efforts, which is not so nice,” he said.
The ZIFA boss also took the opportunity to blast disgruntled candidates who were disqualified from participating in the association’s pending election to choose a new executive and threatening to write to FIFA citing unorthodox means to shut them out of the polls.
“Football in the country starts and end with me,” said the Zanu PF legislator.
“It doesn’t matter how much noise you make. When you are not running the affairs of ZIFA, it won’t change anything. It’s us running the affairs from within who have a say.
“You can shout from the top of the mountain but as long as you are out, you are wasting your time.
“Gianni Infantino (Fifa president) answers my calls and listens to my voice only when it comes to Zimbabwean football, so stop wasting your time.”
Chiyangwa’s comments come after disqualified aspirants were told to pay $10 000 appeal fees from a previous $1000, a move which they said was tailor-made to bar them from participating.
Former Njube Sundowns director Gift Banda, who also submitted his nomination forms challenging vice president Omega Sibanda and Felton Kamambo challenging Chiyangwa were disqualified.
Meanwhile, the Zifa electoral committee released the names of six candidates contesting for the four board member posts.
Current Board member-finance Philemon Machana is tipped to retain his post as he has the backing of 10 provincial chairpersons.
Others in the race for the posts are Chiyangwa’s right hand man Affirmative Acting Group president Chamu Chiwanza, former referee Brighton Malandule and Sugar Chagonda, broadcaster Barry Manandi and Stanley Chapeta.