Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Benjani Mwaruwari Explodes

BENJANI MWARUWARI’S decision to plunge into the trenches and battle for a post on the ZIFA Board triggered hysteria among football fans, with scores of them pouring their hearts out in support of the former Zimbabwe captain.


It appears many even want him to fight for the ZIFA presidency, although for that post, he might need to clear a hurdle that bars those who are under the age of 40 for contesting for the right to lead domestic football.

Those who back him have been lobbying for FIFA’s intervention, asking the world football governing body to declare the clause that bars individuals who are below 40 years from competing for the ZIFA presidency, arguing that the Association’s constitution is flawed.
Benjani Mwaruwari Explodes
They argue that the fact that the ZIFA constitution was not registered by the Sports Commission, as demanded by law in this country, makes it a flawed document that cannot be used to outlaw those who are under 40 years from fighting for the Association’s presidency.

They also feel that if Prince Ali, at 39, can stand for the FIFA presidency, barring a candidate, who is below 40 years from standing for the ZIFA presidency, puts the domestic football governing body’s constitution in conflict with that of the world governing body.

Against that background, they argue, the FIFA constitution should prevail given that the one being used to govern Zimbabwe football was done by individuals who wanted to merely protect their terrain without protecting the best interests of the game.

Yesterday, Benjani — who flew into Harare on Monday night — collected his forms at ZIFA House, declaring his interest in the polls, but did not mention which post he would be battling for.

He told ZBC News that he believed that someone with a proven track record in the game, and with the right international connections to unlock the value in domestic football, was the one needed to lead ZIFA. “I think I have seen enough during my stay in Europe to know that football is supposed to be a multi-million dollar industry and we need to turn our game into such an industry,” Benjani said.

Benjani also met officials from his old English Premiership club, Manchester City, who are owned by wealthy Arab businessmen, and discussed the possibility of roping them to help Zimbabwe football.

And, our story that he is in town for the ZIFA poll, which was published yesterday, drew a lot of attention from football fans, attracting a flood of comments online, with the majority of those who commented supporting Benjani.

Here are some of the comments:

ZIFA

“He is the right cadre for the position. He has no intentions of stealing from the stone broke ZIFA. He has passion for soccer and can take sport back to the good old days when Charles Mabika used to cry out loud commentating about the likes of Ephraim Chawanda, Francis Shonhai, Bruce Grobbelaar, Peter Ndlovu, Lloyd Chitembwe, Rahman Gumbo. I will vote for you Benjani, not Chiyangwa.”

PRINCE MBADA

“Yes Benji . . . let them know it’s not about money alone but knowledge is equally vital. Thanks for the effort by availing yourself for the cause.”

TAKURAIN

“Best article I have read in The Herald in many years. All the best Benjani. This is great news for Zimbabwe.”

MUNYA MUTASA

“Benjie is a good guy, I like him. He has played in Europe and, therefore, has contacts just like everyone has contacts where they have worked before. The opening paragraph says Benjie met with the owners of Man City with the intention of opening up some revenue streams for Zimbabwe football. Really? I hope that’s true though I find it hard to believe. Reading this article gives the impression that Benjie’s bid will be anchored on his presumed ability to bring in funds for Zimbabwe football from his European contacts. That takes me back to a certain Dube. He used his own money to finance ZIFA several properties. He pledged his properties to secure funding for ZIFA. Maybe what ZIFA really needs is not a philanthropist. Maybe what our football is crying out for is an administrator to revamp the organisation and put in place a governance practice that promotes transparency. Maybe the money will follow once prospective partners, local or abroad, are convinced that whoever is in charge at ZIFA is there to promote a football agenda for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

OBINA

“I guess the supposed streams of revenue to be opened from Europe will be in the form of partnership not donations. As a respected footballer, I believe he will use his connections in football circles to lure investors for our football . . . something we are desperately in need of.”

MORGAN CHIBHAMU

“We stand with you Benjie.”

INTERPOL

“At first I thought Sharuko was wrong to give all acres of space to Chiyangwa. I was wrong. Robson is doing the good thing. Giving every candidate enough space in the public newspaper to campaign! We have heard enough of Fidza. Now it is time for Benji to showcase himself. BENJANI FOR ZIFA PRESIDENT. THE WAY TO GO. Not only did Benjani foot some Warriors bills, he took the Warriors to France for camping for the 2006 AFCON. If I was Philip Chiyangwa, if indeed he has the Zimbabwe football at heart; and if indeed he was for the development of the game; then I would step aside as the RIGHT CANDIDATE for the ZIFA presidency has emerged.

MUTEMA

“Even Mr Chiyangwa and all other contenders will vote for Benji . . . Go Benjani Go!”

LOT CHITAKASHA

“Good luck Benjani, good to see former players coming in from the cold but I think money will win in the end.”

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