Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
VIDEO footage of suspended Highlanders and Premier Soccer League chairman Peter Dube addressing the Zifa assembly which led to his suspension from all forms of football has emerged.
Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa plunged Highlanders and the PSL into a leadership crisis when he unilaterally slapped Dube with an indefinite suspension as the relegation and promotion dispute between Zifa and the PSL took an ugly turn.
Chiyangwa alleged that Dube contravened Article 1.15 of Schedule 11 of the Zifa Rules and Regulations by unlawfully interrupting formal proceedings during the Zifa congress in October 2016. He was also charged with inciting chaos by urging PSL club representatives to denounce lawfully made resolutions, according to Chiyangwa’s statement announcing the suspension last year.
However, in the video clip posted by freelance journalist Thandazani Zimbwa on Facebook yesterday, allegations of disrupting the congress are not evident, as the clip starts with Chiyangwa giving Dube the platform to address Zifa councillors.
“I want Peter Dube to respond,” Chiyangwa tells the meeting, giving Dube, who is seated on the right side of the Zifa president.
Chiyangwa wanted Dube to explain the PSL’s position regarding promotional play-offs, which Zifa regional chairpersons were opposed to.
The Zifa councillors led by the regional chairpersons were pushing for the promotion of four teams and relegation of a similar number and not have any play-offs.
Explaining the PSL position at that October 29 meeting Dube said: “I’ve got messages here where you were inviting the list of people who were to attend the meeting. In fact, to start with, a meeting was called at Cresta which we attended. The technical development committee with the regional chairs and it was a good meeting. But I must be open and say the spirit of not wanting to have the play-offs has always been there; it has always been there. It’s not that this letter (one written by PSL saying they are not sponsors of the play-offs but were just funders) has brought this (resistance for play-offs). If you take out the minutes for the meeting we had, we struggled to try and tell you no, resolutions can’t just be made.”
Dube then appeals to councillors to pull in the same direction and move away from underhand dealings.
“Let’s move away from the idea of always pulling and doing things. If this meeting says it’s ok (to cancel play-offs) this is the way which it should be viewed; it’s alright, I don’t mind anything. But you’ll also agree you’ve held meetings before without even advising us and even go on to try and look for sponsors for this (play-offs). And these are all the things which create this atmosphere that’s what exactly is happening to this,” Dube said.
The suspended PSL boss said they didn’t snub the meeting that the regional chairpersons called for ahead of the Highlanders and Dynamos encounter played at Barbourfields Stadium.
In the build-up to that encounter, Pastor Evan Mawarire tried to lobby football fans to disrupt the game, a call that supporters ignored.
Stating his reasons for not attending the meeting called by the regional chairpersons, Dube said:
“Unfortunately at the meeting you say we didn’t come to, when you made the list of the people who were supposed to come, I was here in Harare to attend the launch of Chibuku (Super Cup). I was going to Bulawayo and coming back on Wednesday to meet BancABC and I said I’m sorry, for me to come back to Harare over the weekend was very unfortunate because we’ve got one of our biggest games in Bulawayo (Highlanders v Dynamos). I would need to be on the ground and you said it’s ok, the (PSL) CEO can attend. Then it followed later because I said even the CEO can’t be there because of what’s developing ne-game ririkuBulawayo. And as that game got to the stage of being played, you actually flew to Bulawayo (facing Chiyangwa) at the last minute because of the politics that surrounded the game where Mawarire was threatening taking over that game and it was going to be something that wasn’t football. It was for those reasons that we couldn’t attend that meeting.”
He goes on to reaffirm the PSL’s commitment to funding the play-offs.
Dube then reminded Zifa councillors about the 2009 Harare Declaration where Fifa told participants that relegating 25 percent of the teams was not healthy for the development of Zimbabwean football.
He then warns Chiyangwa to guard against people who were always spoiling for fights, saying that was bad for football.
Dube ends his speech with a plea to councillors.
“Let’s show that there’s commitment and there’s understanding and there’s follow-up to what has been discussed (with Fifa) to what has been followed, with them as a guideline for our football. When we start having changes to a constitution to embarrassing things that have not been looked into, that you yourself didn’t even see and you’re now being asked from Zurich, Mr President ask the members to live with us,” Dube said.
Article Source: The Chronicle