- Mugabe, Hlongwane, Infantino, Chiyangwa.
Zifa president Phillip Chiyangwa has ruffled official feathers by holding a massive birthday gala ahead of president Robert Mugabe’s own state-sponsored event and stealing the limelight by inviting the president of Fifa Gianni Infantino to grace the event.
Chiyangwa’s 58th birthday plans were kept under wraps until the last minute and were disguised as celebrations to mark his elevation to the presidency of Cosafa, the Confederation of Southern African football Associations.
Infantino jetted into the country late Thursday and was immediately whisked to Chiyangwa’s party, much to the dismay of Mugabe’s protocol officers, who expected the Fifa boss to meet the president and government officials first. Infantino only met with Mugabe on Friday.
- Chiyangwa with Infantino at birthday bash on Thursday night.
“Chiyangwa stole the limelight from Mugabe’s own birthday celebrations which have been going on all week,” said a source. “This did not go down well with Mugabe’s officials, who feel that the Zifa boss should have postponed his own bash until the president had held his. Naturally, people are comparing everything, the venue, the guest list and even the cake design. Chiyangwa has come out on top. Even when they visited State House, it was Chiyangwa who brought Infantino and introduced him to the president instead of the minister of sport as expected.”
The multi-millionaire businessman’s party was attended by high-ranking football officials from all over Africa, who are campaigning for the removal of Confederation of African Football president Issa Hayatou, who has headed the football body since 1988.
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