“Chiyangwa is human not an angel”

Following the Zimbabwe Football Association President, Dr Phillip Chiyangwa’s recent questionable decisions of rescinding Christian Epoupa Ntouba’s red card, some sections of the public have defended the much maligned businessman, urging that he is only human not an angel.

By Tongai Mwenje and Carlo Chikomba.

Although the property mogul has of late been making the headlines for all the wrong reasons, if his recent actions are anything to go by, he appears to have gained sympathy from some sections of the public.

Chiyangwa, who chairs the Zimbabwe Referees Committee (ZRC) shocked the football community after nullifying the red card shown to Dynamos striker Christian Epoupa Ntouba during the epic encounter against Highlanders at Rufaro Stadium a week ago.

Ntouba was shown a red card by referee Arnold Ncube after head-butting Highlanders defender Peter Muduhwa in an off the ball incident in the 87th minute. The scoreline was 1-1 and the two giants went on to share the spoils.

Barely 24 hours after the encounter, Zifa announced in a statement that Chiyangwa, who is also Cosafa president, alongside members from the referees board and unnamed important football stakeholders had decided to overrule Ncube’s decision without giving reasons.

“The Zimbabwe football Association Referees Committee has rescinded the 87th minute sending off of Christian Joel Epoupa Ntouba during a Castle Lager Premier Soccer league match between Dynamos and Highlanders at Rufaro Stadium on 10 September 2017. ZIFA president and Referees Committee Chairperson, Dr Phillip Chiyangwa announced the decision following extensive deliberations with members of the referees’ committee and several important football stakeholders.We will not issue any further statement at this stage,” the statement read.

The hasty decision fueled outrage as Epoupa appeared to deserve the card with television replays clearly showing him head butting Muduhwa during the crunch premier league encounter with their fierce rivals.

The top professional division of the Zimbabwe Football Association, Premier Soccer League, quickly intervened by over riding Chiyangwa and his cronies’s decision in a bid to restore professionalism in the beautiful game of football.

However, social media has been abuzz with reactions and views following that gaffe and it appears that a sizeable section of the public are sympathizing with the man popularly known as “Captain Fiasco”.

The pro-Chiyangwa backers are of the opinion that the COSAFA president is only human and just like everyone else is also bound to make mistakes.

“Those close to the President (Chiyangwa) should offer good advice to him. He is not perfect. No-one is perfect. When he makes a mistake, they should tell him because we all learn every day,” said one of the sympathizers.

“Dr Chiyangwa is not in competition with anyone. He is running his own race and setting up his own legacy. Saying that at least he did this and that better than that one, won’t take us forward. We should in fact stay focused,” said another backer.

While another was quick to point out the good things that the COSAFA boss had overseen so far as basis for him being the right man for the job.

“At least Dr Chiyangwa had a great start. We have enjoyed massive success with national team during his short term thus far, he can build on that going forward.”

Meanwhile, former Zifa president Leo Mugabe has laid into ZIFA president Dr Philip Chiyangwa, calling upon the COSAFA boss to relinquish his position as the chairman of the Zifa Referees Committee.

“It’s not ideal at all to have the Zifa president chairing the Referees Committee because it [the committee]makes decisions, which can be appealed and the appeal process is such that the matter will end up with the Zifa board,” Mugabe told Sports World in an interview on Friday.

“There is clear conflict of interest because, as the president, you would want a situation where due process is followed and if it’s you who is not following due process, who is overseeing who?” Mugabe added.

Tongai Mwenje

Tongai Mwenje is a Senior Editor with Zimbabwe's largest online sports magazine Sportbrief He has been writing professionally since 2012 and currently writes for technology and sport blogs. He has vast experience in digital marketing, sports reporting and analysis. He is also a Sports and Technology columnist with Financial Gazette Online Sports Column and Technology Magazine respectively.

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