Opinion: Let football be the winner after ZIFA elections

By Mhuka Huru

Barring any unforeseen eventualities, number 53 Livingstone avenue in Harare, will have a new team in place come the 6th of December, the day after the elections . The almost omnipotent will be seats of football board will become potent.

Do I support Trevor Juul? Big no! Do I support Leslie Gwindi? Big no! Do I support Philip Chiyangwa? Big no! Do I support James Takavada? Big no! But wait a minute what then am I doing writing this article?

My support is football and no candidate at all. Simple reason none of above can succeed if football does not support them. Thats where my loyalty lies. Football! What I strive to support is what the electorates will give me post December 5. It does matter what my opinios are. About the four contenders. It is not up to me. Therefore no point in rallying for one person or the other. I can onlyvplead with the councillors decide for us with sentimental heart.

Football should be the winner.

There has been disturbing premises that football needs a football person to achieve sensibility. Is that really factual or it is just an emotional observation? For some reason the football family seem to fail to separate passion and ability. Of course the two might concide but it is not consistent.

There are many of us who are passionate about football but we do not possess the abilities.

Therefore, what is it that is meant to define who the football person is? Is it a former top flight footballer or is it the person that attends football matches as spectator?

Some of the finest football administrators across the globe are not even what we seem to describe as football person in the sense of playing or having walked the playing surfaces.  If that term really mean what I am made to believe it is.

Most club owners world over are not even former good players at all. Many of them probably played social football like at school or in the streets of their neighbourhood. But have gone on to make some game changing football administrative decisions. In many areas, not just limited to talent identification, club development but many others. They possess a visionary mind more like film director. Who turns around things that are either on paper or mind into motion pictures. Leaving us in awe at the level ingenuity.

Very few former players have taken up the decision to start up clubs and lead them to success. Obviously the argument might be the prohibitive costs of running a project that great. Valid. But not convincing. There are football players that have made a lot of money in their careers as footballers. Just like other persons who have made it through different careers but decide to venture and invest in football. These footballers have invested elsewhere. Don’t we question where their loyalty lies?

Could this mean it’s a barometer to judge them of their inabilities. Certainly, not. But its food for thought.

This is not a case perception for Zimbabwe alone whose economy has been bleeding. But its a trend elsewhere on the globe.

South Africa as an example has two former players of sort who have formed clubs and have a huge stamp in the leagues. Kaizer Motaung and Jomo Sono. Kaiser Chiefs and Jomo Cosmos. Interesting Chiefs and Cosmos are the clubs they played for in the USA. Apart from these it is close to zero.

Soccer greats have been reduced to pundits, academy owners, coaches etc. Why is that. Englishman David Beckham is strudding in the direction of breaking the hegemony with investment in football in the USA.

Football is probably a very risky investment. And understandably so former players maybe feeling that they are not ready enough to invest in the game at any level. Should we then trust them to handle the investment at national level?

How many former players are holding influential roles at club level here in Zimbabwe? Either as chairman, treasurer, secretary, CEO etc. Is the system not quite accomodative to the former players? Their roles have been reduced to that of being in the firing line. Technical bench. And many have accepted that.

How many former players are councillors in the Zifa setup, maybe it is too weak a branch to be involved in? Wrong and very wrong.

Suddenly nation has awaken to realise how important these councillors are and have been. Until our football plummeted did the nation take cognisance of these grassroot person leaders. Thats where football must be driven from.

They probably they want to be in the less influential coaches unions. Forced to be less influential by design. Simply because they are too disgruntled and disjointed to make the right noises.

It might sound like I have taken to attack the former players. Yes I am attacking them. They have not been bold enough to take and control football. But still want to be heard speaking the loudest because they were former greats. Like seriously.

The Presidential race is on. How many former players have thrown their intentions at it. Just one. It would appear to me that they all had decided to rally behind Takavada James as a candidate or none of them apart from JT qualified. If that is the case why? If it’s the case how many are foot soldiering to engage the councillors to vote for their preferred and sole candidate JT. After he is a career footballer.  These formers stars are dotted around the country and some are even close friends to these councillors in one or way the other. Which would mean impressing upon these councillors the need to give one of theirs a shot at the helm of football. I would have expected five or so called  football persons vying for positions in Zifa board. Or atleast two in each category. But James and Edzai are cutting lone figures in the midst of suspected football coup plotters.

Wake up football people. The vote lies with councillors not the spreedsheets or tabloids, not social media or public places.

Councillor elections could be coming to the shore in 2018. Go get elected. Then you can usher in a complete board of former footballers if so you wish. You want change, get into grassroots structures. If you have been marginalised. The chance is there to amend the constitution to bar anyone with no football credentials from standing in the setup. But as long as you stand in the remoteness and be armchair besties. Come 2018 the cry will be the same if you dont ride the bus. And this song in a different version will be played again.

We want a football person.What football person? Tell us the qualifications of a football person? Tell us who is not football person. Is it Chiyangwa or Juul or Gwindi or Takavada?

It was embarrassing to have Benjamin Mwaruwari fly in all the way from Europe seeking the Zifa top office post. Only to realise that his age was one the starting limiting factor. I would have expected him to ask for the constitution first and read it.

That sends a wrong message about what the people would say about so called football people. Or he planned to play on the emotions of the masses.

Then someone says the constitution is barbaric. Why limit the age. It might appear like Zifa penned the constitution the moment they heard he was on plane to Zimbabwe.

Surely, if Mwaruwari can’t read the rules that are in the public domain, it leaves a lot to imagination. rules are rules football family.

But again, who is a football person. Should it be mean someone who played football at the heighest level? Or someone who supports and understands football.

There some great coaches in the world who were not even top top players but have understood the ropes and made great successes.

Africa as a continent has had probably three former players at the helm of football associations. Great African nations like Nigeria, Egypt, Cameroon,Ghana etc have not had that. Maybe these greats have thought its a daunting task. What about the european nations where success of football is almost guaranteed. It is very difficult to identify an association led by the football person (former). Save for Eufa. But Michel Platin is saddled in corruption allegations. A major setback.

We all have agreed that football should be the winner. But we can’t change at the top only. Expecting the incumbent office bearers to change it suit our public opinions is a fallacy. Let’s ride the horse. Stop crying. Brace ourselves for unwanted.

But the chance is around the corner.

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