I’m inclined to feel for Zifa boss, but misgivings linger

FOR me, Felton Kamambo’s speech howlers ceased to be funny the very day he made a total mockery of himself at the unveiling ceremony of new Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic in February.

So, sympathy was the instant reaction of mine days ago after the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) president — at a press briefing to announce the allocation of relief funds in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak — had social media users amusing themselves at his expense the entire week.

The poor guy, addressing reporters in Harare, spectacularly misread figures, also once more displaying how he is awfully ill at ease when the journalists’ cameras are on — and English is the official language of communication.
Kamambo’s extremely awkward public demeanour is likely the result of some kind of impediment stemming from social background. Quite a lot of otherwise decent folk battle it in their everyday lives.

Hence showing a little consideration — instead of mocking — is perhaps the mature way of handling those of such undesirable disposition.

I am no shrink, but I have learnt from everyday life that human beings need to be understood in their varying social and cultural spaces.

In that regard, one can begin to understand that somebody like Kamambo is not exactly a complete misfit, especially in the familiar company of people he trusts and in situations he feels at home.

The Zifa boss appeared on television early last year speaking in his native Shona at the funeral ceremony of a Warriors fan, Agnes Nyamadzawo, tragically killed a few days earlier in a stadium stampede at an international match in Harare.

Surrounded by people he knows well, addressing an audience he can easily relate to, using a language he is most comfortable with, Kamambo spoke so eloquently and delivered a touching eulogy in sending off the dearly departed supporter.

But, in one point of view, while addressing multitudes of mourners in rural Domboshawa takes quite a bit of skill, representing an entire nation on the global football stage is a different thing altogether.

Where the question mark might arise, perhaps, is when you try to imagine Kamambo’s performance around the globe in high-profile meetings where important football matters are discussed, facing powerful world footballer leaders, some of them guys whose aura of authority and mere presence can send the self-esteem of other men tumbling.

With each of Fifa’s 211 member nations all desperate for a fair share of the world football governing body’s riches, it has become a must that the person heading his country’s national federation be one of some kind of shrewdness and intellect.

In times when equipment can be released or extra funds availed spontaneously from Fifa’s loaded coffers just because of your national association boss’s craftsmanship behind closed doors, Kamambo’s apparent lack of guile is where a Zimbabwean football fan would perhaps feel short-changed.

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