By Sports Reporter

COUNCIL of Southern African Football Association (Cosafa) president Philip Chiyangwa is alleged to be making spirited efforts to bar the Zifa executive committee from attending the regional soccer-governing body’s potentially explosive annual general meeting (AGM) in Johannesburg, South Africa on Saturday.

Social media sites yesterday circulated a letter from the regional football-governing body informing Zifa they were not welcome because of outstanding payments and annual subscriptions.

The AGM comes in the wake of reported abuse of Cosafa funds by Chiyangwa. According to an audit report by Baxters Co the Harare businessman helped himself to ridiculous sums of money in allowances pocketing R301 150 and a further R580 00 payment received as “honorarium” — a voluntary payment given to someone for services for which fees are not legally or traditionally required.

It is alleged this extravagance on the part of Chiyangwa and some of his peers has left the regional soccer controlling body in the red, a situation which has angered several member associations, including Zifa.

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There has been bad blood between Zifa president Felton Kamambo and his predecessor since he came into office after a surprise victory in the December 2018 election.

Kamambo has accused the former Zifa boss of stalling the game’s progress through underhand dealings and financial mismanagement.

It is against this background that Zifa reportedly wants to join other member associations who are unhappy with Chiyangwa’s abuse of Cosafa funds to try to force him to step down.

However, Chiyangwa has dug in, barring Zifa executive members from attending the meeting due to non-payment of outstanding fees through Cosafa general secretary Sue Destombs.

“We are advised by the Emergency Committee of Cosafa that Zifa is not in good standing due to non-payment of financial dues to Cosafa, in terms of Article 27,6 which reads: “A member association which fails to pay its annual subscription or other financial dues in terms of the statutes shall lose all rights and privileges in Cosafa provided that it shall remain bound by these statutes and the duties and obligations imposed on every member association. Such a member association shall also be liable for penalties to be imposed by the executive committee. The association may not attend any meeting or activity of Cosafa including the Annual General Meeting taking place on 25 January 2020,” reads the letter by Destombs which circulated widely on social media yesterday.

Last year, Zifa was suspended from Cosafa after pulling out of hosting the 2019 edition of the Cosafa Cup, citing inadequate time to organise the competition. Consequently, they were slapped with a US$200 000 fine.

However, Zifa is understood to have proposed a payment plan which was guaranteed by the world soccer governing body Fifa and this week, they were reported to be making frantic efforts to settle their dues before the Saturday AGM.

Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela declined to comment on the development, while senior Zifa officials were not available for comment.