Did the President of Zimbabwe Football Federation Philip Chiyangwa buy his way to the exalted office? That is the million dollar riddle waiting to be unravelled by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), after defeated candidate in the ZIFA presidential election, Trevor Carelse-Juul lodged a formal (written) complaint to Fifa’s development officer for southern and eastern Africa, Ashford Mamelodi, during the latter’s recent visit to Zimbabwe.
The Standard of October 9, 2016 reports that in the petition, Carelse-Juul accused Chiyangwa of violating Zifa and Fifa statutes during the 2015 Zifa presidential elections.
Mamelodi was in Zimbabwe last month for a three-day fact-finding mission on the state of football in the country, where he engaged Zifa executive members, councillors, former administrators, the association’s staff and the game’s stakeholders, including creditors.
In the letter dated September 9 2016 and addressed to Mamelodi, Carelse-Juul, through his election agent Stanley Makombe, alleges that Chiyangwa bought his way to the biggest job in Zimbabwean football.
He wrote inter alia, “We appreciate your acceptance to hear submissions from various football stakeholders on the status of Zimbabwe football and we hereby submit our concerns on several violations of Zifa and Fifa statutes during the 2015 Zifa presidential elections that we view as a catalyst to many of the challenges bedevilling the game in Zimbabwe today.”
He went to list a catalogue of violations of FIFA and ZIFA statutes by Chiyangwa during the elections, pointing out that he made donations to Zimbabwe’s women and youth teams prior to the elections, as well as alleged bribes and promises he made to the Zifa councillors, who make up the electoral college.
Specifically, he said, Chiyangwa donated funds to national teams (Mighty Warriors and Young Warriors) and the supporters’ associations in October and the beginning of November 2015;
He said Chiyangwa applied dirty tactics including intimidation aimed at him, in which Chiyangwa’s election agent is quoted in the local press threatening to arrest Trevor upon his arrival in Zimbabwe;
Chiyangwa’s supporters made threatening calls, instructing him to withdraw his candidature for Zifa presidential elections or risk being beaten by thugs.
Other serious allegations made against Chiyangwa by Trevor Carelse-Juul’s election agent, Stanley Makombe include declaration by Chiyangwa that he had already won the elections by 46 votes through confirmations of support from the councillors that he mentioned by names and was made through press statements; invitation of all the councillors who cast the vote by Chiyangwa to his manifesto launch, where he provided them with hotel accommodation at Crown Plaza Hotel and paid each councillor an allowance among others.
“It is, therefore, our submission that Philip Chiyangwa violated standard Zifa and Fifa rules and regulations and, as a result, did not qualify to contest in these elections and we, therefore, request your good office to intervene as he has violated several laws of the game.”
Chiyangwa was elected Zifa president on December 5, beating his nearest rival Carelse-Juul by 27 votes in a one-sided election held in the capital.
The businessman and politician garnered 40 out of 57 votes, while Carelse-Juul got 13, with Leslie Gwindi managing three votes.