The race for Zimbabwe women’s football chairship could be as tight as any Zifa elections thus far but Miriam Sibanda’s quest to dislodge incumbent Mavis Gumbo could prove an uphill task.
After delivering the Cosafa Cup which the Mighty Warriors hosted and won in front of Fifa president Sepp Blatter, Gumbo’s promise this time is to deliver Canada 2015 (World Cup finals) thus looking beyond the continental championships, in addition to tournaments and more money for the local league and junior development.
Sibanda’s message hinges on more sponsorship, more games and more women in football and should persuade the electorate.
But it is Gumbo’s success and achievements in her first tenure that could undo Sibanda.
Gumbo has managed to raise women’s football in the last four years where the national 12-team Super League was established. The Mighty Warriors evolved from being a punching bag of South Africa’s Banyana Banyana to a force on the continent now on the verge of qualification to the African Women’s Championships.
Both Sibanda and Gumbo promise to tap into school talent with sourcing of sponsorship key to their promises.
But the national team’s return to the top-10 of the continental rankings, success of the U-20 national women’s team at the Zone Six Games, training matches across the globe including countries such as Germany and Uruguay as well as securing sponsorship from Marange and Net One, suggest dislodging Gumbo could prove tough.
Yet if Sibanda’s claims that she was invited to challenge for the post by some already in the game are anything to go by, then she poses a threat to Gumbo. She has a background in football where she is involved in the administration of Division One side Twalumba.