Businessman and Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) presidential aspirant, Phillip Chiyangwa, claims he is a victim of his wealth, as questions emerge over his eligibility to lead the country’s football controlling body.
Chiyangwa in an interview Friday said that his aim was to go into continental and world soccer administration“Look, people tend to look at my looks and the fact that I am rich, then they reach certain conclusions. A combination of looks and riches attracts problems, so I am a victim of my good looks and riches. Everybody who has money attracts problems,” he said effervescently.
“Even in this Zifa race, some people are saying because Chiyangwa is rich, he will buy his way into office. No, people know success stories; these councillors are not foolish, they know what I am capable of. Why do people want to preach poverty? If you preach poverty, you will always be poor.”
Chiyangwa hopes to combine football politics and business, as he launches an ambitious bid to one day get a post in the world football governing body, Fifa.
The self-styled “King of Selfies” added that the misconception that he was trying to pay his way into office was only because he was a rich man and not that he was actually doing that.
Chiyangwa is bidding to replace deposed Zifa boss Cuthbert Dube, who used to bankroll Zifa programmes.
Reportedly related to President Robert Mugabe, 56-year-old Chiyangwa has already hit the campaign trail that has taken him to Masvingo, Chiredzi, Bulawayo and Gweru.
But his eligibility to run for the Zifa office has been questioned since the post requires one to have served in football administration within Zifa affiliates for at least five years.
Chiyangwa claims to have 22 years of football administration behind him, from Five-A-Side football, Chinhoyi United and Old Citrus, which he said he owned.
“I am one of the founders of Five-A-Side soccer in this country. With respect, it is clear for me that apart from my Chinhoyi United experience and also having owned Old Citrus Club, which was in Division 3, it’s 22 years of experience. But you see people want to mainly concentrate on clubs like Caps, Highlanders and Dynamos. I am coming from the grassroots. At the time I was doing it, I wasn’t thinking about creating a CV for this post,” he said.
Chiyangwa is known more for his involvement in music and boxing promotion that earned him the nickname “Captain Fiasco”.
While ex-football star James Takavada has expressed interest in taking up the Zifa top post with nominations set to close next Friday, Chiyangwa believes he is the only candidate possessing the wherewithal to extricate Zifa from the rut. The football mother body is mired in a $6 million debt.
“Zifa is in dire need of a good leader. What differentiates me and the others is that I am a good leader, I am also somebody who can create financial engineering to get Zifa out of its debt and I am capable of calling on the government to play its role to fund football. Zifa is on fire, it needs somebody who has fought such battles before, whereas my competitors have thrived in environments of comfort unlike me,” he said.
“This post requires a person who has succeeded in sanctions-busting. Dube was an employee, he is not a businessman, he was at an institution where the government would just pour in money.
“I am coming from the market, where the survival techniques are different and that’s what Zifa needs. There are so many people who want to be Zifa president, but they lack any credible experience and ability to take Zifa out of the crisis and elevate it to a better level or even to get government comfortable and interested.”
While he is limiting himself to just two years in local football administration, he is not ruling out going for posts at the Confederation of African Football (Caf), which have largely remained a preserve of North and West Africa.
“I am just going to be at Zifa for two years if I win, but you will see how successful I will be. I have never been a failure in my life, even the general public know that I always succeed at everything I do.
“I am not sure what will happen in 2018, but if I can get into Caf, so be it,” Chiyangwa said, adding he would be able to juggle the demands of football administration and his other passion: Zanu PF politics.