Benjani pulls out of Zifa race

FORMER Warriors captain Benjani Mwaruwari has been forced not to contest for any of the Zifa board posts whose elections are scheduled for December 5.

Kevin Mapasure

Mwaruwari’s name is not among the official list of candidates that had filed for the five board positions up for grabs, released by Zifa yesterday.BENJANI

The posts fell vacant after the board led by Cuthbert Dube was booted out last month, paving way for a fresh election.

The 38-year-old former Manchester City striker was widely expected to contest after registering his interest in vying for the top post.

He arrived in the country last weekend only to discover that he was not eligible to contest for the Zifa presidency, which requires one to be at least 40 years old.


Benjani had emerged a popular choice with the fans, some of whom questioned the age limitation especially considering that there are no such demands for the Fifa presidency.

But while Mwaruwari was willing to consider lower posts, particularly the vice presidency, again he was not eligible since one has to have at least five years administrative experience within Zifa structures.

The race for the presidency could be interesting after Harare businessman Phillip Chiyangwa, former Zifa president Trevor Carelse Juul, ex-Premier Soccer League secretary-general Leslie Gwindi and former Zimbabwe soccer star James Takavada all filed their nomination papers.

Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela yesterday confirmed the list of candidates that had officially registered interest.

“We have a provisional list only because we have not yet received information from all provinces and regions on other prospective candidates that might have filed their papers there,” said Gwesela.

The vetting process will be conducted tomorrow.

For the post of vice-president, only three candidates filed their papers although Zifa had by last night not collated information from the regions and provinces.

Elkana Dube, Omega Sibanda and Lincoln Mutasa will contest for that post if they pass the vetting process.

Gwindi, Carelse Juul and Takavada kept the media and football fans guessing about their candidature until they filed their papers yesterday.

Chiyangwa said he is confident of winning since he had already laid the groundwork for the elections.

He said he already had 43 votes in the bag and whoever wanted to contest for the presidency was wasting their time.

“I have filed my papers this morning, I do not care about others but what I know is some are pulling out at the last minute,” said Chiyangwa yesterday. “But whoever wants to contest must know I am already holding 43 votes out of 58. Once I hit 43 I did not talk to the other councillors.”

He said his mission is to sort out the mess in football, highlighting some of the key points in his constitution which include restoration of constitutional democracy, the expunging of the Zifa debt, setting up of academies, creation of revenue streams as well as ensuring good contracts for players.

For the other three posts of board members Wilfred Mukuna, Joseph Musariri, Lewis Uriri, Piraishe Mabhena, Musa Mandaza, Beadle Gwasira, Jackson Munyaka, Philemon Muchana, Edzai Kasinauyo and Shelton Kamambo filed their papers.
The other two posts in the seven-member board are reserved for the chairperson of women’s football and the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League chairman.