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ZIFA chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze has come under fire for using bullying tactics to try and strike fear into the hearts and minds of councillors so that he escapes scrutiny and possible censure at the extra-ordinary meeting in Harare this morning.

Mashingaidze claimed, in a circular he sent to councillors this week, there was a plot to turn Zimbabwe into a pariah football state and said he has written to FIFA aising the world football governing body of that scheme.

The ZIFA chief executive also revealed he had favoured FIFA with a comprehensive dossier of the forces he claims are behind the plot to have Zimbabwean football isolated from the international community.

However, Tinashe Mapuranga, a sports consultant, who fronted Cuthbert Dube’s successful election and re-election bids for the ZIFA presidency in 2010 and 2014, has accused Mashingaidze of trying to bully the councillors and deflecting their focus from key issues, including the secretariat’s shortcomings, ahead of the indaba.

Mapuranga said the timing of the distribution of Mashingaidze’s circular, just days before the meeting of the councillors, was meant to silence the councillors and divert their attention from real issues that were weighing down the game, including the chief executive’s documented shortcomings in how he has managed his portfolio.

Mashingaidze, said Mapuranga, was now selling the councillors a dummy in which he was dressing himself in the robes of the ZIFA board and sending a wrong signal that should he be censured, including a possible dismissal or demotion from his job, FIFA would punish Zimbabwean football for that.

“Mashingaidze is trying to run away from the real issues that are affecting our football and he has been a specialist in using such diversionary tactics in the past five years, whereby the focus is heaped on other things and personalities rather than substance,” Mapuranga said.

“The point is that Mashingaidze is the big elephant in the room his comical weaknesses in failing to run the ZIFA secretariat in the past five years is the main reason why the association finds itself in such a difficult situation and he doesn’t want that issue to be discussed because he is trying to sell the councillors this dummy that the discussion should be centred on Francis Zimunya, Chris Sambo and Paddington Japajapa.

“I don’t support what Zimunya and his team have been campaigning for because I don’t want to see us banned from international football since I still love to see Knowledge Musona coming to Rufaro and playing for his country. I also want to see those boys based in England that we saw in Morocco coming home to play for their nation.

“Mashingaidze is obsessed with personality fights and wants us to be all seized with that and I feel that his circular is scandalous, to say the least, because it does not address the pressing issues that one would expect a chief executive of ZIFA to pick on.

“Let’s go back to the last meeting of councillors and you will see that there is the outstanding issue of the US$744 000 and Council demanded the last time to know what happened to that money, which could not be accounted for in the audit report produced by their auditors.

“The councillors still want answers on that because this is a huge sum of money and they also want to know what happened to the US$250 000 that came from CHAN as prize money, the money that has come from coaches for their courses and what is happening to the money paid by referees for the numerous courses that are being held.

“For an organisation that is always complaining of being poorly funded, one would expect ZIFA to account for every dollar that comes into its coffers and that promotes the transparency that such an organisation badly wants and these are key issues, which all go back to the secretariat, and need to be addressed.”

Mapuranga said Mashingaidze should not hide behind the ZIFA board and ride on a conspiracy to try and dissolve the current football leadership as if he was one of the board members.

“I support Cuthbert Dube he won his mandate to run football until 2018 and those who feel that he is not the right man for the job should challenge him if he wishes to contest for the elections again in three years time when that poll comes along,” said Mapuranga.

“But I believe that as long as Mashingaidze is the man that we empower to run the ZIFA Office, even if we bring the best football administrator in the world to be our ZIFA president, we won’t improve at all as a football nation.

“When you have a ZIFA CEO who doesn’t answer his phone, who feels it’s not an issue that he is virtually never at his office and operates from street corners where the ZIFA officials have to come to meet him, carrying sensitive documents, who has no respect for his board and no respect for women, who feels they are petty and they don’t deserve his attention, and whose reputation, in terms of being someone whose word cannot be relied upon, has been publicly questioned not by one but many people who held senior positions at the same organisation, then you are running into serious trouble.

“Mashingaidze has been leading the ZIFA secretariat for five years now and everything points to a downward spiral in the way our football has gone and, if the association did not have money all along, is he trying to tell us that he is the ultimate patriot, who is there to just work for free, for five years, and when some people question the lifestyle, how it’s possible that people working in such an environment can afford to import cars, not one, not two, but numerous cars, they are quick to be dismissed as anti-football.

“When Nicky (Dhlamini-Moyo) challenged her dismissal at ZIFA, she was awarded US$10 000, but Mashingaidze, because he has this thing against women, decided not to engage her and, on the rare occasions he did, lied to her and before we knew it, the interest had soared to US$100 000 and we are now losing property, including the artificial turf donated by FIFA, because our chief executive slept on duty.”

Mapuranga said he had faith in the ZIFA councillors to stand up and fight for what is good for Zimbabwe football.

“The councillors are people who think and I know they will not come to Harare just to discuss personalities,” Mapuranga said.

“These guys know football and will defend the game and the issues at stake are the lack of corporate governance, especially the way the secretariat is being run, the fact that there is lack of transparency in the way finances are being handled at the office, why there is so much secrecy about money that has come from courses held for coaches and referees, which bank accounts are used for that, and what, if any revenue, was generated from the friendly internationals that we played last year,” said Mapuranga.

“They want to know about the FIFA funds and how they have been used and the attachment of properties that has been going on and they want to know what we are doing in terms of youth development.

“We have some respectable characters in the Council like Mudhara (Mussa) Mandaza, who is credited with forming the Central Region, the representatives of the PSL clubs, the representatives of the regions and provinces, to name but a few, and they all want to see our football moving forward.

“They have respect for their leader, Cuthbert Dube. That’s what I have gathered and I appeal to them not to be made prisoners of a chief executive who doesn’t value relationships, whose management style is poor, who is arrogant and believes he has become a god-like figure in our football.

“FIFA won’t sanction us for replacing our ZIFA CEO he is not an elected official and he should not try to give the impression that he is as special, in FIFA’s eyes, as the board members and that is why, when FIFA were discussing with us about the state of our football last month, they wrote to Dube and not Mashingaidze.”

Source : The Herald