1 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Kazembe Quits

DYNAMOS' preparations for the next season could plunge into stormy waters following the resignation of Harare businessman Raymond Kazembe from the key position of secretary-general. According to sources in the DeMbare camp Kazembe, who has only been in the position for close to one year, has already informed the club's leadership of his decision to step down.

Kazembe - with bringing a refreshing professional approach to Dynamos in which he also shied away from the boardroom politics that often threaten to tear the Harare giants apart - announced his resignation in a letter to the club's board of directors and his fellow executive led by Kenny Mubaiwa.

Although none of the Dynamos leadership was yesterday willing to fully discuss the matter, sources close to the goings on at the Glamour Boys revealed that Kazembe's letter, which was dated December 21, reached the club's board of directors last Thursday.

The sources also said the letter had come as a shock, especially to the board of directors and had sparked diplomatic manoeuvres by the founding fathers to try and get the youthful businessman to have a change of heart and continue in his role, particularly in the year that Dynamos will be celebrating their 50th anniversary.

Kazembe, who runs a leading electronic security systems firm, has reportedly cited the mounting pressure of work among his reasons to dump the DeMbare ship at short notice and when the club probably need him most as they also battle to shake off competition for some of their star players by some South African clubs.

Dynamos defied odds to claim a second successive league and cup double despite losing the experienced and influential pair of goalkeeper Washington Arubi and striker Takesure Chinyama in June.

Arubi joined Pretoria University while Chinyama, who was the leading scorer at the club, was lured by Soweto giants Orlando Pirates.

In that same month Dynamos had to make do without Soccer Star of the Year Denver Mukamba, who was having trials with Bidvest Wits.

Mukamba has made his intentions clear that he will not be part of the DeMbare class this year as he is still pursuing a move to Wits.

It is against the background of the need for Dynamos to assemble a squad that is strong enough to mount a challenge on both the domestic and continental fronts that Kazembe's departure is understood to be posing headaches for both fellow executive members and the board of directors.

Kazembe had been tasked with spearheading the recruitment of new players and negotiating new deals with a host of the Glamour Boys players whose contracts ran out yesterday.

He was leading a three-man committee that also included coach Callitso Pasuwa and long serving committee member Simon Sachiti.

A number of players who include Devon Chafa, Milton Makopa, Tichaona Mabvura, Thomas Magorimbo and striker Martin Vengesayi are yet to commit themselves for this season despite being registered for the Champions League.

It is understood that club vice-chairman Webster Chikengezha has now been tasked to lead the recruitment committee while the board of directors who include board member finance Robson Rundaba, Owen Chandamale and board secretary Bernard Marriot while they continue with their efforts to try and persuade Kazembe to change his mind.

Kazembe is currently out of the country on holiday with his family but the sources said his resignation was a big blow to the Harare giants' pre-season build-up as he had also been working hand in glove with Mubaiwa to prepare for DeMbare's onslaught on a possible third successive league and cup and double.

"The secretary-general is the backbone of the club's activities. His resignation came unexpectedly because he never communicated with anyone among his colleagues in the executive about his intentions.

"It was a surprise to everyone. Kazembe mentioned in his letter that he was facing enormous pressure of work hence the decision to take a break from football and concentrate on his family and business.

"It seems he doesn't wasn't anything to do with football at the moment.

"But with the nature of his duties, the club cannot afford to operate with such a void because this is the most important office, especially at this stage of the season.

"So it was resolved that Mr Chikengezha take over the roles at the moment while a solution is being sought.

"The board is expected to meet him (Kazembe) when he returns home this week although it appears he is not prepared to budge," said the source.

Kazembe, who had distinguished himself among the new breed of administrators with his hard work and professionalism, has been conspicuous by his silence in recent days as DeMbare struggle to finalise their squad for next season.

Dynamos are looking to defend their league and Mbada Diamond Cup titles as well as making an impact in the Champions League.

The board of directors led by acting chairman Freddy Mkwesha are expected to meet later this week to discuss the latest setback.

The sources said DeMbare, who are running against time to put their house in order before the start of the season, could find themselves in a sticky situation as the secretary-general had been handling most of the important issues that include the players' contracts, sponsorship and almost everything to do with the preparations.

Dynamos had been a refreshing ocean of stability in the last three years with Kazembe attributing that to the unity within their camp and more importantly, the role played by the club's sponsors BancABC who have been taking care of the players' salaries, travel and accommodation expenses for away matches.

DeMbare, who were a dealt a blow with the death of one of their founding fathers and board of directors chairman Richard Chiminya in November, are looking to hold their landmark Golden Jubilee celebrations this year and they have already started the ground work for the event.

"The executive is facing a big problem in that there was no proper hand-over. He had many issues in his portfolio and it needs proper hand-over for continuity's sake.

"Don't forget that he was also the liaison between the club and the sponsors. Right now Mbada Diamonds have been enquiring if the club is taking up that grant for the Champions League and the modalities but they have no one to deal with," said the sources.

Kazembe becomes the second official to quit the executive after Treasurer Moses Chikwariro, who relinquished his post in October.

The former Zifa Mashonaland Central province treasurer had been in the key DeMbare position since January last year after being elevated from being a committee member and swapping roles with former Warriors manager Nyika Chifamba.

Acting board of directors chairman Mkwesha confirmed Kazembe's departure but was unwilling to discuss the latest setback while secretary Marriot was elusive.

"I have heard about this through the grapevine and I cannot comment at the moment. You may speak to our secretary Bernard Marriot because as the acting chairman I have not yet received the resignation letter," said Mkwesha.

Dynamos are expected to get their preparations for the 2013 season underway on January 7 and they will face Lesotho Correctional Services in a Champions League preliminary round tie in February.

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