The future of Zimbabwe’s football will be decided when Zifa councillors gather at the association’s Mount Hampden headquarters this morning to choose a new leadership, a ballot designed to clean up the domestic game.
The four-man shortlist of presidential candidates to replace deposed Cuthbert Dube includes Phillip Chiyangwa, Trevor Carelse Juul, Leslie Gwindi and James Takavada.
Ten other candidates are vying for board member posts, while Omega Sibanda, Chiyangwa’s ally, will battle it out against Lincoln Mutasa for the vice-presidency.
It’s been a turbulent few years in the domestic game resulting in the ouster of the Dube-led board through a vote of no-confidence on October 3, triggering an election with the new executive set to see off the term which expires in 2018.
A two-thirds majority would be enough to win the secret vote, or a simple majority in a second round of voting.
It is Chiyangwa, though, who has been the most visible, in the media that is, of the presidential candidates, and victory for him seems more likely.
The businessman claims he has the support of 42 of the 58 available votes. Forty-eight of the whole electorate attended his manifesto launch. He needs just 39 to win the election.
Those who back him have argued that his all-action approach is what Zifa needs in the next two years if things are to improve.
Chiyangwa has maintained that he will not use his money at Zifa, but wants to unlock revenue streams particularly from the government where he says he has better access than any of the other candidates.
His closest rival appears to be Juul, who took Dube to a run-off in the last election before losing to the Harare businessman.
He has also gone out into the provinces to meet councillors and also claims to have overwhelming support.
Juul has been riding on the popularity of the Dream Team which captivated football fans during the 90s. He was Zifa president at that time.
Like Chiyangwa, Juul has also promised to open sustainable revenue streams and help Zimbabwean players move abroad to top leagues.
Gwindi has been pleading with councillors “to do the right thing”, which obviously means voting him in.
He also lost to Dube in the previous election, but he believes the experience under the deposed board would have convinced councillors that he is the right person to lead football.
He believes because of his experience in football having been Dynamos secretary-general and Harare City chairman, he will be a natural choice.
On the other hand, Takavada has been selling himself as a former player who deserves a chance due to the knowledge acquired as a player and later as a coach.
The former Warriors player argues that football is in a mess because it has been led by “outsiders for a long time”.
Presidential candidates: James Takavada, Leslie Gwindi, Phillip Chiyangwa, Trevor Carelse Juul.
Vice-presidency: Lincoln Mutasa, Omega Sibanda.
Board members: Edzai Kasinauyo, Wilfred Mukuna, Joseph Musariri, Lewis Uriri, Piraishe Mabhena, Mussa Mandaza, Beadle Gwasira, Jackson Munyaka, Philemon Machana, Felton Kamambo