Council of Southern African Football Association (COSAFA) and Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) president, Philip Chiyangwa, has responded to Confederation of African Football’s latest warning denying wrongdoing.
CAF wrote to Chiyangwa again warning that he would be on the agenda in CAF’s next executive committee meeting following his birthday and Cosafa presidential election victory celebration gathering in Harare on Thursday.
CAF have raised questions over whether the meeting was really informal, as the COSAFA president had suggested.
Chiyangwa, on the other hand, has questioned the motives of the CAF Secretary General, Hicham El Amrani, insisting that he desreves an apology for the insinuations made by CAF in their first letter.
In addition, Chiyangwa says he has already met with underfire CAF president, Issa Hayatou, and his vice president, Almamy Kabele Camara, and clarified the matter with them.
Here is Chiyangwa’s full response to the CAF Secretary General:
“You seem to be unaware that at the specific instance and request of the 2nd Vice President of CAF, Mr Almamy Kabele Camara, I had the pleasure of meeting both the President of CAF and the Vice President in Johannesburg on the 17th of February 2016. The contents of your earlier letter and of my response were duly exhaustively discussed in our meeting with issues of mutual concern aptly clarified between the parties.
“I therefore note with concern, that notwithstanding the meeting that I held with the President and Vice President of CAF on the subject, your latest correspondence conspicuously and rather curiously, does not at all mention the meeting specially convened by the CAF Presidency. This is particularly startling as in your earlier letter you had advised that you were writing under the instruction of the CAF President. Surely if I have since met with the CAF president it would be important for you to capture the record of that engagement in your letter .
“The issues you have mentioned in your letter are exactly the same that were discussed in my meeting with the CAF Presidency.
“I further wish to advise you that indeed as I indicated in my letter, the celebration for my victory at COSAFA and my birthday happened in Harare on the 23 rd of February as planned. I was humbled by the kindness of my friends and colleagues both from the international football family and many Zimbabweans who graced the event. You will be pleased to note that my private ceremony occurred as planned and advised to yourself.
“You mention surprise with the contents of my letter that refers to CAF Statutes and FIFA Regulations. I considered it necessary to explain my position to you on the basis of football statutes as you has clearly insinuated possible breach of the CAF statutes which it is now very clear was not the case. I note that in your latest letter you do not offer contrary interpretation and meaning to the football statutes as you would appreciate that my conduct is unimpeachable on the exercise of fundamental rights expressly accorded in the football statutes.
“You have sought to place reliance on draft letters prepared for the invitation of the President of the Football Association of Zambia and the Mali Football Association, both drafts were not copied or intended to be copied to yourself and the formal communications ultimately dispatched to all the guests were very clear on the purpose of the function. At any rate the debate on what the purpose of the meeting was intended to achieve is now moot as the reality of what has eventually transpired bears full testimony to the veracity of my intimations.
“As regards the communication received from FIFA you are aware that Zimbabwe is separately and independently a full member of FIFA which enjoys the rights to host and receive the FIFA President and any other delegation from FIFA to exclusively discuss matters relating to Zimbabwe’s Football development and membership to FIFA.
“Indeed on the 24th of February 2017, at the instance of FIFA, the FIFA President duly met with Zimbabwe’s football leaders and matters pertaining to Zimbabwe’s football development were discussed. There is no nexus of any nature whatsoever between the personal celebrations I had with my fellow African brothers and the FIFA President on the 23rd of February 2017 and the exclusively Zimbabwean-FIFA engagement on the 24th of February 2017.
“Mr Secretary General, it is disheartening to note that you appear fixated at finding a negative in the positive developments that have happened in my personal life and Zimbabwean football. I believe that your esteemed office has an institutional responsibility to be supportive of a member federation rather than to be needlessly unpropitious.
“As regards my request for an apology, as a matter of principle, I consider it virtuous and conscientious on your part acknowledge error in understanding rather than seek to perpetuate a groundless contention. I therefore sincerely await the apology.
“As I have already indicated, having met with the CAF President and discussed the issue I find no basis for your placing this matter on the agenda of the CAF executive committee. However if you still consider it necessary to detain the whole executive committee with such a petty issue, it would only be just and equitable for the record of my discussions with the CAF Presidency to be correctly and objectively presented through affording equal opportunity to both parties to be heard. Your strange total avoidance of mention of the meeting does not give me the assurance of your objectivity on the issue. I therefore fully reserve my rights at law should any deliberations be prejudicial to my interests and standing.”