HomeSportSoccerLessons from Asiagate

Lessons from Asiagate

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The second instalment of the Asiagate scandal came to light on Tuesday and contained moving and detailed reports about the excursions by successive national teams in Asia where it is alleged that there was match-fixing.

We will publish the reports in this newspaper blow by blow.

In the damning report, football administrators, players, coaches and journalists are listed as alleged beneficiaries of the trips and some of the protagonists say side-splitting things especially Luke Masomere when he said;

“Ndarohwa ChiHarare ndichibva kuMasvingo” literally meaning he had been duped. It’s comical, but we need to take some of the issues raised in the document seriously.

While we admit Asiagate has exposed shortcomings amongst football stakeholders, there is need for people in this game to look ahead rather than continue to be at “war”.

It is not about enhancing personal glory, but cleansing the image of the game and making a new start that has a professional inclination.

It serves as point of departure for administrators, journalists, players and coaches to be more professional in the way they conduct themselves.

If indeed the concerns raised in the report happened, then it is regrettable, but the onus is on Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) to regain credibility by having the so-called Asian betting syndicates in the report confirm the “evil” dealings.

There is just need for further investigation before any action is taken against the suspects.

What is more worrying though is that this investigation will wipe out a whole generation of players including the current Warriors team.

If the Fifa recommendations are undertaken by Zifa, Warriors coach Norman Mapeza will lose his job as well as prominent players such as Ovidy Karuru, Thomas Sweswe, Justice Majabvi, Method Mwanjali and Khama Billiat to name just but a few.

It will be the worst tragedy to befall our football since independence for these are the future stars of our country.

We believe this the time Zifa and its stakeholders should do some soul searching and find the best way forward.

But we are concerned that Zifa chose to smuggle such an important document with national interest to newspapers that report positively on the association.

A report of that magnitude should be availed to every media outlet at a proper event.

We don’t find anything wrong with the report, but we find something wrong in the selective manner in which Zifa operates.

The report’s general tone is that players and officials who travelled to Asia indeed received money, but of note are conflicting statements with regards the amounts received.

For example, former Warriors manager Ernest Sibanda claims that he got between
$7 000 and $8 000 as an official in a trip to the Merdeka tournament in Malaysia while the head of delegation of that trip Godfrey Japajapa claims that he paid Sibanda $2 200 for the duration of their stay there.

A journalist who travelled with the Warriors during the same trip also claims that he received $2 200. Japajapa says he has a schedule where Sibanda and the rest of travelling party signed acknowledging receiving $2 200 and that at no point did the team receive more than that. That complicates the whole report.

But by and large it is an insightful report.

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