ZIFA vice-presidency aspirant Gift Banda believes personality clashes in the echelons of power in local football will not take the Zimbabwean game anywhere and says he did not enter the race to fight anyone.
Banda was recently cleared by the Zifa Electoral Committee to stand against incumbent Omega Sibanda in elections scheduled for 16 December.
A few days after getting the go ahead to contest, Banda is wasting no time and has already embarked on a nationwide campaign trail to sell his manifesto to the Zifa electorate — the councillors.
Last weekend he was in Gweru, which is part of the Zifa Central Region, before meeting councillors in the Zifa Eastern Region and recently travelled to Harare to woo voters based in the capital city.
“I made it a rule never to talk about personalities during my campaign trail because it is that culture of personality clashes that is killing our football instead of leaders spreading the language of football development and unity of purpose.
“My manifesto centres around the need to follow the Zimbabwean football bible, which is the constitution, in everything that we do and giving power back to the councillors once we (executive committee) are voted into power,” said Banda.
He says it’s important that councillors, who run football from regional to grassroots level, play an oversight role in the running of football and are co-opted into various Zifa sub-committees.
“Football should be a unifier, not this business of banning individuals that are deemed not to hold the same opinions as some high powered individuals,” he said.
The former Njube Sundowns director says he will draw from past experience running a Premier Soccer League club to advocate for a vibrant junior policy that feeds into national teams from the Under -17 to the Warriors.
The same will be done for women football.
“At Njube Sundowns we gave a platform to youngsters to eke a living through playing professional football, produced stars like Thabani Kamusoko, who have turned out into good footballers. If elected, I will push for Fifa funds to be channelled down to grassroots level because without junior soccer there is no Zimbabwean football to talk about,” he added.
Asked if he had been afforded enough time to campaign since he was cleared to contest on 27 November, Banda said: ”I need just a day to campaign.”