Thursday, 9 September 2021

I'M DONE WITH FOOTBALL ADMINISTRATION : CHIYANGWA

COSAFA president, Philip Chiyangwa, has revealed he will leave the regional post when his term of office comes to an end in December this year.

The Harare businessman also said he was not interested in seeking a return to the ZIFA presidency, when the association hold their elective congress, next year.

He was elected president of the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations in December, 2016, after standing unopposed, at the organisation’s annual meetin  in South Africa. He took over from Suketu Patel, who elected not to stand, after completing two terms in office. It had also become clear, at the time of the polls Patel had lost the backing of the regional football leaders amid winds of change, which were sweeping across African football. South African football boss, Danny Jordaan, had also entertained dreams of fighting for the COSAFA presidency but withdrew, just before the vote.

Chiyangwa told The Herald yesterday he was done with football administration and would now concentrate on his political engagements, including leading the fund-raising drive, for Zanu PF, ahead of the 2023 polls.

“I’m not coming back to ZIFA, I’m also not standing for re-election, at the end of my COSAFA (presidential) term, I’m not standing for that one,’’ he said.

“I’m leaving, I have a bigger responsibility in my country, here in Zimbabwe, the President (Mnangagwa) has appointed me as one of the chief strategists, for now and 2023, so I’m in a senior position to determine the life of our party, the fundraising efforts, etc.

“For me, it was a good experience (in football administration), you leave for others to take over.’’ He said by the time he left ZIFA, after withdrawing from the second round of a presidential poll he was trailing to his opponent, and eventual association leader, Felton Kamambo, in December 2018, his race, in the domestic game, had been run.

“Towards the time I was leaving ZIFA, a lot of people were working to see my back, I did not want to be seen to be overstaying my welcome, I had been there for two years,’’ he said.

“There were people . . . who actually wished my career, and reputation, to be destroyed.

“I was very sick at the time, the doctors had advised me to vacate some of these time-consuming and stressful engagement, for me to recover, without having to go through pressure.

“My thyroid was wreaking havoc, my eyes were twisting left, right and centre, I had to go through nine operations, in order for me to be okay.

By the time this ZIFA thing (elections in 2018), I was out of it, to be honest, in terms of morale, spirit and everything, I did not campaign, yes, first round, I could not be beaten.’’ He said he felt the public had also turned against his presidency.

“The public, in general, was not really making good statements (about) my staying,’’ he said.

“It appeared I was looking to survive through the stipend that people get out of football. “I left at the right time Zimbabwe wanted me to leave, I probably believe I was the best president to occupy that position, I won trophies, made sure all these new names you see (in the Warriors), I went to England to open the doors that had been shut by people demanding bribes.’’ Herald

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