Zifa president Cuthbert Dube Wednesday appealed to the Young Warriors, who are going to Botswana for the Metropolitan Cosafa Under-20 Youth championships which kicks off tomorrow to desist from any element of corruption and match fixing.
Speaking at a team send-off ceremony yesterday, the Zifa president said the players should be on high alert on any suspicious individuals at the tournament.
“Fair play should be observed at all times and please say no to corruption,” said Dube.
“If you see anyone or anything that looks suspicious and not associated with soccer, just say no. We are just emerging out of a very big scandal and we don’t want to go back there again, leave that (corruption) to other countries.”
“A lot of people and players have built their reputation and we don’t want that reputation to be destroyed in a matter of seconds,’ said Dube.
Dube said the players should put the country first before anything else.
“You the players should put Zimbabwe first before anything else, you are our ambassadors out there and all the eyes will be on you. At the moment we are trying to clean the mess that has been made and that we are doing it for you.”
The plea comes after the match-fixing scourge that hit the Zimbabwe national team last year and popularly known as the Zifagate. It is alleged that players were instructed to lose matches to Asian teams in exchange for money from Asian betting syndicates.
The players were reportedly instructed to lose three matches against Thailand, Syria and Malaysian club Selangor, and were each given $1 000 for every match while an undisclosed amount was given to the technical department.
The young Warriors received a timely boost ahead of the tournament after Dube pledged to give incentives to the team for every win.
“As the president of Zifa I’m going to give you extra bonuses from my own personal resources if you play and win. I can also tell you that if you manage to bring the title home we will organise a meeting with the president of the country at the State House like what we have done for the senior national team and other players who have done the country proud in the past,” said Dube.
Dube wished the young Warriors the best of luck in the tournament.
“You have an important task ahead of you and bring the very best result and you know what we mean by best results, we want a win,” said the Zifa president.
The Young Warriors are in tricky Group A which features the improving Botswana and Swaziland. Malawi, who were the fourth team in the group pulled out of the tournament on Monday.
The Taurai Mangwiro coached side will play their first game against the hosts tomorrow.