Zimbabwean football is set to enter a new era with the much anticipated Zifa board elections set to be held tomorrow morning in Harare.
These are probably the most attention-grabbing elections as candidates have caused so much debate and in some cases quarrels over their suitability to lead the most popular sport in the country.
Flamboyant businessman Phillip Chiyangwa, former Premier Soccer League secretary general Leslie Gwindi, ex-Zifa president Trevor Carelse Juul and retired Warriors defender James Takavada are vying for the Zifa presidency.
Ten other candidates are vying for board member posts while Omega Sibanda and Lincoln Mutasa are battling for the vice presidency.
Chiyangwa has been the most vocal and visible of presidential candidates in the last two months with a plethora of campaign activities and trips around the country to sell himself to the electorate.
He managed to score his first victory by getting nominated after questions about his history in football administration had been raised.
Five Aside football leapt to his defense which helped him weather that storm.
Chiyangwa has promised to use his experience and expertise in business to help lift Zifa out of its financial mess.
Those who back him have argued that his all action approach is what Zifa needs in the next two years if things are to improve.
Chiyangwa has maintained that he will not use his money at Zifa but wants to unlock revenue streams particularly from the government where he says he has better access than any of the other candidates.
He claims to have the support of at list 42 councillors. Forty-eight of the 58 councilors attended his manifesto launch and this week he went out to the provinces where he met all the councillors.
His closest rival appears to be Juul who took former ZIFA president Cuthbet Dube to a run-off in the last election before losing to the Harare businessman.
Juul spends most of his time in South Africa but he had a compaign team on the ground which was laying groundwork for him.
He has also gone out into the provinces to meet councilors and also claims to have overwhelming support.
Juul has been riding on the popularity of the Dream Team which captivated football fans during the 90s. He was Zifa president at that time.
The election will be about who possesses the plan or potential to help lift Zifa out of its financial problems.
Like Chiyangwa Juul has also promised to open sustainable revenue streams and help Zimbabwean players move abroad to top leagues.
Leslie Gwindi has been pleading with councilors “to do the right thing”, which obviously means voting him in.
Like Juul he lost to Dube in the previous election but he believes the experience under the deposed board would have convinced councilors that he is the right person to lead football.
He believes because of his experience in football having also been Dynamos secretary general and Harare City chairman, he will be a natural choice.
On the other hand James Takavada has been selling himself as a former player who deserves a chance due to the knowledge acquired as a player and later as a coach.
The former Warriors player argues that football is in a mess because it has been led by “outsiders for a long time”.