‘Time we reclaim what’s rightly ours’  

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Austin Karonga 
MORE prominent former footballers have thrown their weight behind Alois Bunjira in his bid to land the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) top post when elections come around in 2022.
Although the polls are still some two years away, Bunjira has already made his intentions clear and will challenge the under fire incumbent Zifa president Felton Kamambo.
The former Warriors and CAPS United winger decided to announce his candidature early enough so that has all the time to campaign and hopefully convince the Zifa electoral college to vote for him.
Bunjira’s campaign received a huge endorsement last week when former Warriors and Manchester City striker Benjani Mwaruwari declared that he will be supporting him.
Over the years, there have been a lot of calls for former players to aim high and bid to land the Zifa presidency and help inspire the game’s growth and development.
Following Benjani’s endorsement of Bunjira, a number of ex-footballers have also told the Daily News on Sunday that they believe the 45-year-old could be the ideal candidate for local football’s top post.
Former Dynamos skipper Memory “Gwenzi” Mucherahowa said Bunjira should be given the chance to lead local football.
“Alois is a former footballer but it doesn’t mean that he cannot run football in the country as long as he has the knowledge and capability, he’s not different from those who are running the game at the moment,” Mucherahowa told the Daily News on Sunday.
“Personally, I will back anyone who has got noble ideas that will take our football forward whether he is a former footballer or not. In this case I’m not supporting him because he is a former footballer; I’m merely supporting the ideas that he has.
“What I will do for now is to wait and see what other potential candidates have to offer even if they never played football as long as they have good plans I will support them and if they’re former footballers with magnificent plans then I will support them. All we want is for football to be the winner at the end of the day.”
Recent Zifa elections have been clouded by accusations that some candidates have bribed the electoral college.
There is an ongoing police probe into the election that saw Kamambo come into power by defeating Phillip Chiyangwa in 2018.
Mucherahowa, who is now based in England, called on the Zifa assembly to avoid the mistakes they have made in the past and ensure the forthcoming elections are not clouded by vote-buying allegations.
“Bribery is a cancer that we need to do away with in football so my worry is will Alois be able to overcome this hurdle?” he said.
“We have a lot of former players that are capable of leading Zifa but that bribery game that is played out in Zifa disadvantages them.
“It’s known that most players do not have the capacity to play this dirty game and bribe the councillors. I think there should be a better way of choosing Zifa presidents on an even and fair platform as opposed to this current system.”
Former Warriors defender and Zifa board member Benedict “The Grinder” Moyo also backed Bunjira for the top job and warned him to look out for under underhand tactics by those that will try to derail his campaign.
“Personally, I have known Alois as a youngster; I have got no problem with him raising his hand to be counted as the next Zifa president. I’m very supportive of any former footballer willing to lead our football, particularly anyone who has played at the highest level,” Moyo told the Daily News on Sunday.
“The only problem is that the current system makes sure that they elbow out people with good intentions and are knowledgeable of the game.
“I will give you an example where myself and Ndumiso Gumede, we have played football at the highest level, we knew what was needed for the association to be a success but the moment we spoke out about bad corporate governance that is when we became unpopular and we were frustrated out of the system.
“I’m happy for Alois for as long as he has the requisite administration background I don’t see why it should be difficult for him to get the support he’s looking for. I’m sure he will come and introduce other administrative courses for former footballers as well because we all can’t be coaches, we need that diversity.”
Another former Warriors defender and Zifa board member John Phiri, who was part of the trailblazing Dream Team, welcomed Bunjira’s move and urged him to ensure he does everything in his power to convince the Zifa electoral college of his capabilities.
“It’s a step in the right direction and the time for footballers to lead the association now; sometimes you need to take the bull by the horns which is what Alois has decided to do,” Phiri said.
“If he’s clever and intelligent he must call for a stakeholders meeting and he mustn’t go it alone. He must go and meet the councillors and impress them, he may be talking good English in the papers but without the support of the Zifa assembly his mission is as good as doomed. He needs them to endorse him.”

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