Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIFA vice-president Omega Sibanda yesterday dismissed as malicious a damning exposé circulating on social media entitled “Findings of political, corruption and maladministration activities in respect of Mr Omega Sibanda”, saying he had opened a police case against its authors.
Addressing a media briefing at his private office in Bulawayo yesterday, Sibanda said the “dossier”, which has since gone viral, was being peddled by people that want to discredit him ahead of Zifa elections set for March 2018.
“There are a lot of things circulating on social media, in WhatsApp. Messages alleging this and that, putting politics into what we don’t do, alleging that I do falsehoods. All that is false; I dismiss that. I’ve already reported to the police this case of the WhatsApp message circulating, which I’m sure most of you have read and I dismiss all what is written there,” said Sibanda.
“The suspects are there. I don’t want to pre-empt what the police are doing, but certainly within the next three days you will hear of arrests of people who are trying to spread malicious rumours. And those malicious rumours are based, of course, maybe on the elections coming in March. They’re just trying to dismiss my candidature through falsehoods; that doesn’t worry me much. What I’m worried about are falsehoods. If someone has to write about me, they must write the truth,” he said.
Part of the circulating document Sibanda was referring to claims that he was eyeing the Vungu parliamentary seat in the 2018 elections under a “Zanu-PF (G40) ticket”.
The author of the document claims Sibanda paid Elkanah Dube $5 000 to stop him from contesting the Zifa vice presidency in the 2015 elections.
Allegations of misuse of a Government grant of $1, 2 million given to the national team for the African Cup of Nations are also levelled against Sibanda, with the author claiming the Zifa vice-president took $48 000, while coaches and players got “peanuts”.
The document also accuses Sibanda of being involved in underhand dealings, such as remaining a players and coaches’ agent, something that Sibanda vehemently denies.
“As VP of the association, he is not allowed to be an agent of any player or coach, as it will complicate and distort transparency as victimisation will come into play. Teams have suffered because they will be afraid that they will be suspended if they don’t abide by his intentions,” reads part of the document.
The author also accuses Sibanda of running the show at Zifa, saying “he has been banning and lifting the bans at his own discretion”.
“Generally Mr Omega is not a good administrator, he has a dictator like leadership qualities and is very corrupt. He should leave football and concentrate on politics,” said the author.
The writer of the document also says Sibanda must resign and fired Zifa employees should be reinstated, an audit of Zifa finances should be conducted and the suspensions of Highlanders’ chairman Peter Dube, former Bulawayo City assistant coach Farai Mujokoro and former City kit manager Gift Mvalo should be lifted.
Mujokoro and Mvalo were suspended on match-fixing allegations by the PSL while Dube, according to the document, “was suspended last year for challenging them (Zifa) for doing things which were unconstitutionally and they felt undermined”.
However, Sibanda explained yesterday that the suspensions were done by Zifa as a collective and not individuals.
“If a member of Zifa commits an offence, it comes from wherever he/she is, whether it’s from the region, PSL, name it. It is forwarded to the executive and then that person is suspended and finally it goes to the congress. I’ve got no power, no power absolutely to suspend anyone. People are suspended by the system; the systems of Zifa. The Zifa congress has got the power to lift the suspensions or the executive committee as per the constitution, it’s not up to an individual,” Sibanda said.
He said it was unfair for people to spread falsehoods about him and prayed that the relevant authorities deal with the culprits.
Regarding politics, Sibanda said: “If I decide to be a politician, it is my choice. Remember there’s no law in football which says if you’re a politician don’t be a football person or the other way round. As you know, (Caf president) Ahmad Ahmad was the president of the senate in Madagascar.
“There are plenty more examples of football leaders who are politicians. In Egypt, four executive members of the FA are MPs in the Egyptian parliament. Danny Jordaan in South Africa was a mayor representing the ANC. So where is the issue? I’m not even an MP; I’ve not even said anything about Vungu, but people are just spreading lies. This falsehood must stop. I pray that these people peddling falsehoods on social media are arrested and jailed.”
Sibanda said he is committed to serving Zimbabwean football.
“I do football with all my heart, making sure that football develops in this country. Remember, I’m the chairman of the technical and development committee at Zifa; my job is to make sure that football develops and I’m doing that. I’m a clean man; I’m very smart,” Sibanda said.