WASHINGTON D.C. —
Politicians have no business running football, opposition parties said Friday as they lamented the candidacy of Zanu PF member, Phillip Chiyangwa, to head the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA).
"Alas... here we are witnessing what appears to be the soccer equivalent of a coronation of Philip Chiyangwa as ZIFA President," MDC leader Welshman Ncube opined.
"For any serious minded soccer lover it is hard to imagine the soccer voting fraternity making a worse decision. It looks pretty much like the proverbial jumping from the frying pen into the fire."
Ncube said only candidates of integrity with a record in soccer administration should seek to run the affairs of the perennially-troubled football association.
“A ZIFA president represents the image of a country and carries with them emotions of millions of soccer supporters,” he added.
“That is why integrity, honesty, credibility, honor and humility must be part of the array –among intellectual and administrative depth – of qualities demanded of potential candidates.”
His sentiments were echoed by the MDC formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
“The MDC firmly believes that politicians shouldn’t be actively involved in the administration of any sporting organization," the party said.
"Sport should be administered by non-political actors in order to ensure there is no polarization and friction amongst sports-persons and fans who follow and enjoy various sporting disciplines.
“This is the main reason why the global football association, FIFA, is very strict in ensuring that there shouldn’t be any political interference in the manner in which national football associations are administered.”
By its very nature, the party said, politics can be very toxic and confrontational and perhaps, this is the rationale behind the principle adopted by FIFA that political interference is strictly forbidden in soccer administration.
Chiyangwa, a flamboyant businessman will run against former Harare City chairman Leslie Gwindi and former Zifa boss Trevor Carlisle Juul.