from WELLINGTON TONI in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE – FORMER Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits forward, Alois Bunjira, has to revive Zimbabwe’s football fortunes and eradicate corruption in the sport if elected to head his country’s beleaguered football federation.
Bunjira has expressed interest in challenging for the presidency of the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) ending days of speculation that he would contest for the biggest position in the soccer-mad country, which has underachieved despite producing an array of talent over the years.
Elections are scheduled for 2022 but his confirmation of availability has been trending in Zimbabwe and among millions in the Diaspora.
“The passion to see football in Zimbabwe developing much faster than I have been seeing over the years, getting back to its glory days and even better drives my passion,” Bunjira (45) said in an interview with CAJ News Africa.
“To show the world that football can run smoothly, with integrity and without corruption and benefiting all stakeholders makes me believe I am a good candidate for the ZIFA presidency,” the ex-national team striker said.
Bunjira, who also plied his trade at Jomo Cosmos and the now-defunct FC AK in neighbouring South Africa, is determined to succeed where other former players have failed.
Since independence in 1980, the job has been seen as a preserve for businessmen and politicians.
Former players, Charlie Jones and Benjani Mwaruwari, who also starred in the South African premiership and had stints in the Swiss, French and English top leagues failed in their ambitions for the ZIFA presidency.
The ZIFA Constitution has been seen to be restrictive, with anybody below 40 years and lacking five years football administration ineligible to contest.
Bunjira has marketing experience from his stint at CAPS United and has worked as a journalist. He is also a broadcaster and social media influencer.
It remains to be seen if he garners support from the ZIFA General Assembly, consisting of the councilors that vote.
The General Assembly is made of heavyweights including 18 members of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and regional chairpersons across the country’s 10 provinces.
Bunjira also has to win over the women football, schools, five-aside, junior football, districts and areas zones.
“I have the pedigree to turn around football and bring back the glory days….days when football was fun, and great and everyone naturally wanted to join in. Good football is what attracts corporate sponsorship and government support, and not individuals,” he equipped.
Bunjira called upon former players to stand up and be counted in the administration of the game.
“Ex-players should give back the knowledge and experience they have gained over the years of playing local and abroad. They are important to the football cause,” Bunjira, who currently runs his own Albun Academy, said.
He has opted for veteran broadcaster and advertising guru Barry Manandi as his running mate.
Felton Kamambo is the current ZIFA head. Gift Banda, suspended in 2019, deputises him.
Zimbabwe’s football is in the doldrums, with the senior men’s national team ranked 111th in the world.
At its peak it was ranked 45th in the world in the mid-1990s.
The side has played in four Africa Cup of Nations finals but failed each time to progress to the knockout stages. Discontent among players has largely been blamed.
– CAJ News