The Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture David Coltart has expressed his concern over match-fixing allegations that rocked Zimbabwean soccer scene this year and has tasked the Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC) to institute their own separate investigations.
Zimbabwe soccer officials and players have been accused of throwing away matches in return for monetary gains where Asian betting syndicates are said to have been behind the tours.
The SRC asked Zifa to investigate the match-fixing scandal and the soccer mother body produced a damning report which fingered various prominent soccer administrators and Warriors players.
These include the former Zifa duo of chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya and programmes officer Jonathan Musavengana, Motor Action coach Joey Antipas and prominent players like Method Mwanjali, Edmore Sibanda and Gilbert Mapemba, among others.
The report, compiled by leaders of the investigating team, Zifa vice-president (administration) Ndumiso Gumede and board member (competitions) Benedict Moyo, Eastern Region boss Fungai Chihuri and board member (finance) Elliot Kasu, has since been tabled before the SRC.
Coltart was speaking at a meeting that was held in Bulawayo at the Presbyterian Church in the city on Monday evening where he expressed his concern over the match fixing allegations.
“I am very concerned about the allegations. As a lawyer, I know preliminary reports are often based on evidence that has not been fully interrogated. I have asked the SRC to do their own investigations,” said Coltart.
Coltart said he had tasked the SRC to ensure that the match fixing investigations were carried through although the ministry was not allowed to be directly involved in soccer.
“It is important for a minister to respect the laws they are responsible for. The (Sports and Recreation) Act does not give me power to act directly on issues but to act through the SRC,” he said.
The minister’s power is exercised through the SRC.
“My power is through the SRC board. I have said to the SRC they must investigate the matter as they are empowered to do so,” he said. The minister said the SRC had taken steps to deal with the matter but such an issue took time to resolve.
“I think they are working on this. It cannot be resolved overnight. It was a criminal activity that did not happen in Zimbabwe,” he said.
The minister also commended the SRC under the chairmanship of prominent Bulawayo lawyer Joseph James for the role they had played in the sport.
“The SRC under the chairmanship of Joseph James is dealing with issues regarding football. He is cleaning our sport. We have got a good SRC which is imposing good administrative discipline in sport,” he said.
On Monday, Coltart told news agency AP that the allegations were serious that police must actually lead the probe.