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New Era Newspaper Wednesday March 7, 2018

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NEW ERA |

NEW ERA | Wednesday, March 7 2018 St George’s Diocesan School host NASP competition Page 21 New basketball junior coaches trained Page 22 SPORT “I don’t want to reduce myself to the level where I discuss such issues in the media because the bigger picture for me is to ensure that I try and unite our nations and our region using the power of football and that is what I am going to do. – Cosafa president Philip Chiyangwa Chiyangwa on Rukoro, Namibia, Zim relations obson Sharuko arare osafa president Philip Chiyangwa says Namibia and Zimbabwe share a special bond, both in politics and football, and no one – including those andated with leading their national sporting rganisations – can put a wedge between the wo sisterly nations. The COSAFA boss has been in the news in oth Zimbabwe and Namibia in the past week fter reports emerged that he was allegedly anhandled by Namibia Football Association NFA) secretary-general Barry Rukoro in ohannesburg two weeks ago. Rukoro denies the allegations that he anhandled Chiyangwa but claims there was heated debate between the two when they et at a Johannesburg hotel during a COSAFA xecutive committee meeting and his critics, ncluding the NFA boss Frans Mbidi, have een trying to use the incident to nail him. nd the secretary-general, have been stuck in a icious power struggle with the latter accusing is boss of trying to block the extension of is term as the chief of the secretariat at the ountry’s football controlling body. Mbidi, who is also the COSAFA viceresident, denies the allegations but insists hat there is a need for a clean-up exercise at he NFA by getting rid of some people who ere not adding value to the organisation and he game. Rukoro says Mbidi has been trying to use the Johannesburg incident to nail him as a violent and wayward administrator who does not deserve to be part of the national football leadership in Namibia. if the version I heard is indeed true and how he is planning to deal with me and the NFA executive in a matter that does not in any way affect COSAFA,” Rukoro told the New Era newspaper. him up with a lot of stories about me and the NFA executive, which is apparently not supporting him to get rid of me. “My discussion with Chiyangwa was a little establish if indeed there was anything like a the centre of the hotel lobby at lunch. How “Mbidi has been gossiping and spreading lies about me and the entire NFA Exco at continental and sub-continental events. “He took a purely national matter to a subcontinental platform. The question is what does COSAFA have to do with what is purely an “Apart from the fact that Mbidi went about gossiping and spreading lies about NFA internal affairs, COSAFA president Chiyangwa even went ahead to discuss this matter at a COSAFA executive committee meeting. “That was completely out of order. Mbidi is going around telling people that he will not organise an NFA Exco meeting for fear that his letter to me may be reversed by the NFA executive but he chose to seek support against me on the international fora. “That is not only disrespecting the NFA executive but also undermining the NFA and Namibia’s ability to deal with our own issues. I was told by a COSAFA member that Mbidi, with the support of Chiyangwa, wants to deal with me and the NFA executive and that Chiyangwa was ready to assist Mbidi in that regard.” A WhatsApp conversation between Chiyangwa and Football Association of Zambia boss, Andrew Kamanga, appeared to talk about an attack. “We need to talk. Mbidi’s SG (secretarygeneral) attacked me at the hotel,” Chiyangwa wrote to Kamanga, who responded, “I saw that and was wondering where it came from.” Chiyangwa told The Southern Times COSAFA, he would take the diplomatic route to try and ensure that football unites, rather than divides, the countries in the region. He says discussing the incident in Johannesburg two weeks ago in the media would be a failure on his part in terms of discharging his duties as the leader of COSAFA. “I don’t want to reduce myself to the level where I discuss such issues in the media because the bigger picture for me is to ensure that I try and unite our nations and our region using the power of football and that is what I am going to do. When you look at Namibia and Zimbabwe, you see two countries that share a lot in common and who are very friendly sisterly nations and let’s not try and use our positions as leaders, especially in sport, to try and create divisions which are not necessary, but we have to work harder to ensure that we continue to strengthen that bond.” “When we face each other in international football matches, we compete hard but at the end of the day, we have to congratulate the winner. We were knocked out by Namibia controversy related to the way that we lost that game, in that penalty shootout, which led to so that they could see where we believed the rules had been violated. But when our appeal was not successful, we didn’t begrudge Namibia forever but, instead, we were the only nation that went to Windhoek for a friendly international against them to help them prepare and that shows how close we are as nations.” Chiyangwa added: “Of course, along the way, there will come people who want to divide us, who believe they are bigger than the sport, but it’s our responsibility as leaders to ensure that we don’t let such people emerge the victors at the expense of football … we need to harness its (football’s) popularity and power to ensure that we unite our countries and our people rather than divide them and, as the leader of COSAFA, that is my mission. The world has commended COSAFA as a vibrant regional bloc, which is doing more than a lot of other regional blocs to promote football and we have to continue walking that good path.” - The Southern Times

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