Match-fixers to be barred from stadiums
Saturday, 04 August 2012 00:00
Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube has said that his board will go beyond stamping out match-fixing and warned that stern action will be taken against all kinds of cheats and corruption. Dube also said they
want to kick hooliganism out of the terraces and warned that people will be barred from entering stadiums if found guilty of unsporting behaviour.
The Zifa president was speaking at the presentation of a report by the investigation committee looking into the alleged match-fixing practices in the Central Region Division One League yesterday.
Dube reckoned that hooliganism, just like match-fixing, was fast eating into the soul of the domestic game and said the board will work hard to create a family environment at the soccer matches.
He was probably referring to the scenes that rocked the Warriors World Cup qualifier against Guinea, which ended in a 0-0 stalemate, with fans abusing the players and the technical team and throwing missiles at the pitch afterwards. Some Zifa board members were also verbally abused.
There were also cases of violence brought to the Premier Soccer League Disciplinary Committee in the first half of the season perpetrated by Highlanders and CAPS United supporters.
“We don’t want thugs and people with foul mouths at our football matches. When I go to a soccer match with my mother-in-law, I must feel comfortable and secure. There are some people who are in the habit of speaking words that are very un-African.
“So we are going to be ruthless with the culprits and we will ban people from the stadium. We have got the instruments to enforce that.
“I also want to warn companies and individuals that the issue of sponsoring hooligans should come to an end. We will engage the police over this matter, and this will happen during the tenure of this board.
“Fifa is backing us in all this. We don’t want to risk being banned because of violent behaviour of some people,” said Dube.
The Zifa president also said the board will go the extra mile to cleanse the domestic game of corruption by getting beyond the Asiagate and Centralgate scandals. He said the rot in Zimbabwean football has spread to the whole body like a cancer. Dube also warned that age cheats and the facilitators of such vice would soon face the music.
“Club owners and coaches should also be warned that the time for cheating has come to an end. This also includes age cheating and this demeaning thing of one player using different names. As elders we should direct players in the way they conduct themselves as professionals. These players earn their livelihood through football and shouldn’t risk it by getting bad advice. I think it’s time these young players learn that they should not be misguided into cheating,” said Dube.
The Zifa board will today deliberate on the contents of the report produced by the Brighton Mudzamiri-led investigation committee into the match-fixing allegations in the Zifa Central Region League.
The report was handed over by the committee’s vice chairman Wilfred Mukuna in Harare yesterday and would be forwarded to the Centralgate Ethics Committee led by Custom Kachambwa.
“When we came into office one of our biggest mandates was to cleanse the state of Zimbabwean football. I am proud to be the chairman of this board and we will not stop until the Asiagate issue is finalised.
“No amount of intimidation and arrests will stop us. We are doing this in the interest of the nation and the CEO may be arrested 150 times but we will not stop.
“We want to send a clear message that we don’t want corruption in football. That is why I am saying well done to the committee because they managed to do this under very difficult conditions and we really want to applaud them.
“Sometimes they faced physical and life–threatening circumstances but you (the committee) soldiered on to the extent that you were able to come up with a report without fear or favour.
“Taking into consideration that the investigating committee interviewed around 87 people means that it’s quite a lot of work.
“Now we don’t know how long the Disciplinary Committee will take with their hearings but, I think, they understand the urgency of this matter. Asiagate, Centralgate — the whole nation is waiting with a lot of anxiety to know about these issues but we have to do this in a careful manner so that we don’t bring out a half-baked report. People may accuse us of being slow. We want a thorough job because this involved a lot of people including referees, players and administrators,” said Dube.
Mukuna said they did thorough investigations and hinted that there could be a lot of rot that is still waiting to be exposed in the other regions. The Centralgate scandal has seen the suspension of senior officials such as the region’s chairman Patrick Hokonya, his Southern Region counterpart Gift Banda and former Zimbabwe Women’s Soccer League secretary-general Samukeliso Silengane.