Former Mhangura Football Club player Felton Kamambo on Sunday beat businessman and incumbent Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) president, Phillip Chiyangwa, in the ZIFA elections held in the country’s capital, Harare.
Southern Region ZIFA boss Gift Banda also beat Chiyangwa’s deputy, Omega Sibanda, to land the post of vice president in polls filled with drama before the Sunday elections.
Kamambo was initially banned by the Chiyangwa board from contesting the elections together with Banda and were bailed out by the Fédé ration Internationale de Football Association or International Federation of Association Football (FIFA).
In the fight for the ZIFA presidency, Kamambo polled 35 votes against Chiyangwa’s 24 resulting in a re-run as each candidate did not reach the mandated two thirds majority. Chiyangwa, who is the president of the Confederation of African Football Associations (COSAFA) and Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Zvimba South, withdrew from the election and Kamambo was declared the new ZIFA president.
The victory marked an end to Chiyangwa’s three-year reign after taking over from Cuthbert Dube in December 2015. Kamambo was recently picked up by the police on allegations of threatening violence on the association’s general secretary Joseph Mamutse. He was released by Highlands police in Harare after signing a warned and cautioned statement. He was charged under Section 186 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Kamambo, who is a former ZIFA executive committee member, is expected to appear in court Tuesday to face these charges. Chiyangwa also claimed that Kamambo was serving a ZIFA suspension, an allegation dismissed by FIFA, who ordered that the former ZIFA board member be allowed to contest. He quit the executive committee, arguing that the ZIFA board’s term of office had lapsed.
Sibanda, who is Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Vungu Constituency, was beaten hands down by Banda, former Bulawayo deputy mayor, a member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Nelson Chamisa and MDC lawmaker for Njube-Lobengula.
Banda got 37 votes compared to Sibanda’s 22 votes. Banda was last Thursday hauled before the court where he was charged with corruption for allegedly leasing a 3,82 hectare piece of land to his daughter while he was a deputy mayor. Like Kamambo, he dismissed the court case an attempt by the Sibanda to ensure that he was barred from contesting the ZIFA elections.
Kamambo and Banda pledged to work with all stakeholders to revive soccer in Zimbabwe.
In an interview with journalists in Harare, Chiyangwa congratulated Kamambo and Banda.
“It’s democracy. I’m not disappointed. From now, I can go and become a president of a fishing club.”
He dismissed suggestions that he will make a comeback in the near future. “No, won’t come back. I do this and do that. You know my performance. Let them perform also. Good luck to them and I will give them the support that they need. Remember, I still COSAFA president … I’m still the boss for the region by the way … Don’t forget that.”
Asked about the election loss, Chiyangwa said, “Was I campaigning? I wasn’t into it in the manner that I would have wanted to. I wish them good luck. No regrets. I have done the best I can. We can’t force things … As Zimbabweans why should we stifle development. If out of Chiwangwa control things can work better, why not.”
On why he withdrew in the winner-take-all second round of the election, he said, “… (I wanted) To give some people who are desperate to do something a chance to do it.”
Messages posted on Facebook by soccer analyst Ezra ‘Tshisa’ Sibanda and Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League boss Kennedy Ndebele set the social media sphere on fire with some bidding Chiyagwa and Sibanda farewell.
Others compared their defeat to the demise of former president Robert Mugabe, who was removed from office by the military in conjunction with lawmakers and members of the public following complaints that he had overstayed his welcome in politics.
Here are some of the comments posted by Zimbabweans on Facebook:
Ezra Tshisa Sibanda’s post: Felton Kamambo has beaten Phillip Chiyangwa to win Zifa Presidency and Gift Banda has beaten Omega Sibanda to the position of Vice President to start a new 4 year term at the helm of Zim Footbal
Phineas Muroyiwa So chiyangwa is gone for good
Innocent Ncube Congrads , new blood
Mthandazo Ty Ncube Siyabonga well done...any change is good & welcomed
Wilson Mpofu ZanuPF out?
Nhlanhla Mbambo That's spirit Tshisa to congratulate the winners. You surely led by example Bro.
Gift Menzi Cele Tough luck bru, your brother Omega has lost.
Joel Mugadzah Really. Good news for zim football
Aleck Wisimati congratulations Tshisa who is this Felton??
Mgcini Ncube Good riddance,at least they will have time to save in their political constituences.The new team must recover all ZIFA properties illegally sold to the former bosses indirectly. I Whawha kayigcwali
Glad Thulani Nkala A very good move for our football
Gugu Lethu Good news. Sorry for your brother. Kaye vusa iArchers bar. Make it classy
Pride Qhelani Mpala kkkk reading comments
Sam Muringai At least last Zifa is no longer captured. Politicians shouldn’t be part of Zifa
Memory Msipha Chirisa Congrats to the winners they deserve it Great news ever.
Grandpa Philip Chiyangwa must go play with his grandkids
Themba Lambalidlile Mlevu Ndlovu I wished Omega was nominated for the ZIFA position just for a pure change.
Oscar Mthole at least under Chiyangwa and Sibanda, Zifa was better organized comparing it back in years ,where the players they play and don't get paid
Mukudzei Sakuchera Good soccer must return to ZIFA HOUSE
Haniso Moyo kabahambe vele abantu beZanu
Phila Hlabilanga Meanwhile somewhere south of London a Europa league team has succumbed to Southampton
Kennedy Ndebele’s post: Congratulations Mr Felton Kamambo the new ZIFA President.
Miriam Sibanda Indeed Congratulations are in order.
Nodumo Nyathi Amhlophe athe nke...can we have a new elections at psl pulizi...ahambe uFarai
Ba T Wilfred Congratulations, Kamambo u fought a good fight...vaisada kuti ukwane
Albert Mucheka Makorokoto.
Gondai Mazhuwa Congratulations
Jesperk Nare Congrats to him!
Faith Silandulo Dube Sekutshaya umoya
Charles Chikwira Congratulations indeed
Njabulo Ncube This is good
Jethro Chimanga Congrats
Siphatho Ncube WOW AMHLOPHE JUST SEEN THE NEWS
Siphatho Ncube whats the rest of the results?
Albert Mucheka Football will now move forward from today going forward.
Nocks Chidombgwe Congratulations to both men
Reneiloe Pagiwa Good news, closed the era of Jack of all trades, master of none
Nkosini Tshuma Amhlophe Change is good
Nkosimi Moyo yes yes chiyangwa gone
Moyo Shadreck Really? Perhaps a new era for Zim Football
Nkosimi Moyo gift banda as well in Omega khaya good for football
Nkululeko Maduma Fuzwayo Ubukhosi ngamazolo
Pardon Takavada Congratulations bro
Ghettoluv Ghettoluv CONGRATULATIONS
Mlondolozi Ndlovu Football has been liberated
Ruth Labode U Banda yena khe?